MAMC, MRCPCH, MD - Paediatrics, MBBS
5 Easy ways to prevent obesity in your child
Research shows that overweight children have a higher chances of developing chronic health problems such as hypertension, asthma, high cholesterol, and even cancer as they grow up. Apart from these health conditions, being obese can cause severe self-esteem problems as well. In short, obesity in children, more specifically childhood obesity, can affect the overall physical, mental and emotional health of your child.
Here are 5 easy ways to prevent your child from falling into the perils of obesity.
1. Develop healthy eating habits in your child
Encouraging your little ones to develop healthy eating habits is vital for maintaining optimum body weight. Instead of high sugar and high fat foods, a child’s diet should consist of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods (such as oats, quinoa and wheat). Proteins such as lean meats, lentils, beans and fish should be included in his/her eating plan as well. Most importantly, serving food in the right portion sizes will ensure your child is getting the right amount of nutrients, while preventing him/her from consuming empty calories. Inculcate these eating habits in them right from the time they are toddlers so that it stays with them as they get older.
2. Make your child avoid calorie-rich foods
Getting your child to avoid fatty, sugary and salty foods can also prevent him from tipping over the weighing scale. Present before your child low sugar and low fat alternatives that he/she would enjoy eating such as apples, bananas, carrots, etc.
3. Encourage your child to pursue physical activity
Try to encourage your child to engage in some form of physical activity for about 60 minutes every day. From brisk walking, swimming, dancing to skipping - your child could opt for any of these physical activities. Having your child lead an active life can see him/her enjoying a number of health benefits like respite from stress, strengthening of his/her bones and muscles and decrease in blood pressure, to name a few.
4. Put a limit on your child’s TV time
When it comes to the time that your child may spend before the TV, computer or other gizmos, it should be not more than 2 hours a day. Instead, devise fun activities wherein your child as well other members of the family can take part in or ones in which your child does not need a company.
5. Ensure your child gets enough sleep
Lastly, a good night’s rest that lasts about 9-12 hours is vital for optimal weight maintenance. Studies reveal that children who slept for fewer hours were more at risk of being obese. This is because less sleep causes fatigue, leading to a decrease in physical activity and therefore, use of energy.