by STEVEN MILNER IIST
DON’T STAND BY AND WATCH YOUR KIDS GET FAT!
The busy school year brings habits that encourage kids to become overweight or obese. Here’s some ideas on how to help your children lose weight or stay fit all year long. Last year, a study from the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth UK, revealed that:
Three quarters of parents failed to recognise their child was overweight.
33 percent of mums and 57 percent of dads considered their child’s weight to be ‘about right’ when, in fact, they were obese.
One in ten parents expressed some concern about their child being underweight when they were actually a normal, healthy weight.
Figures taken from the most recent large-scale survey in the UK shockingly reveal that 33 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys aged between two and nineteen years are obese or overweight. Parents need to be aware that healthy weight in childhood is more than an aesthetic issue, and looking good isn’t always the same as feeling good. Studies show that obesity in children and teens can be a predicter of not only a person’s weight later in life, but also overall health, longevity and quality of life. A recent study of 227,000 Norwegians who have been followed from adolescence to middle age found that those who were overweight or obese as teens were over three times more likely to die of heart disease. In addition, the risk of death from colon cancer and respiratory diseases, including asthma and emphysema, was two to three times higher in the subjects who were overweight or obese as teens. However, getting children to eat healthy and exercise sufficiently is easier said than done. Read on for tips on getting children to eat healthier and exercise more.
Nutrition Tips to Fight Obesity
Make favourite dishes healthier. You don’t have to serve kids only salads and roast chicken. But do make their favourites, like burgers, pasta, and pizza in a healthier way. Try using olive oil instead of butter, and reducing the amount of cheese, cream, butter and other high-fat dairy products used in the recipes. Sneak extra veggies into tomato sauces, or use green peppers and broccoli as pizza toppings. For sandwiches, use whole-grain bread instead of white bread and low-fat versions of dressings like mayonnaise.
Pack a lunch. Let your child help plan his or her weekly school lunches. Not only will you likely save money, the meal will be healthier, too.
Limit pop and fruit juice. Both contain lots of sugar and calories. If you do serve juice, dilute it with soda water to lower the calories. Keep filtered water in the fridge so it is available and cold when kids need a drink, that is if you don’t trust the tap water.
Eat meals together. Having family meals together helps adolescents eat more fruits, vegetables, and fibre and fewer fatty foods and soft drinks. Even if you don’t have time to eat a family meal every night, make sure you have healthy options in the kitchen to avoid last-minute dinners of fast food or takeout, which tend to be higher in fat and calories than home-cooked meals. Some good options to have on hand are pre-washed lettuce, baby carrots, cold cuts of meat, whole-grain bread and low fat spreads and dressings.
Offer treats in moderation. Ice cream, cake, sweets and biscuits can be limited to special occasions like birthday parties, holidays, amusement park trips, and other infrequent occurrences or celebrations. As alternatives, keep plenty of fruits like apples, bananas, grapes, and berries washed and easily accessible.
Exercise Tips for Losing Weight or Staying Fit
Sneak in exercise. If you make working out into a game or play time, kids will be more interested. Try skipping, roly poly, playing tick, and jumping for children 5 to 8 year olds. Older kids can play statues, jump rope games, relay races, or run obstacle courses. The key is to make exercises “FUN”ctional. Give it a go, the old favourites are still the best. Kids love to run about and make it look effortless for hours sometimes, ever notice how all this stops when kids get fat?
Turn off the TV. Studies have found direct correlation between the number of hours of television that children watch and their risk of obesity. Video games and computer usage contribute to the problem as well. Limit the time your child spends on these sedentary activities to no more than an hour per day.
Chores count as exercise, too. Making the bed, mowing the lawn, and raking leaves all count as exercise. Assign older children more active chores and they’ll exercise without even knowing it.
Get extra help. If your child’s school doesn’t offer extracurricular or organized team sports, search out programs in your local community or classes at the local school gym.
Set a good example. Your kids watch what you do, so set a good example by improving your nutrition and exercise habits as well.
IT’S NOT FAIR TO STAND BY AND LET YOUR KIDS GET FAT!
YOU WOULDN’T TRY TO HANDICAP YOUR KIDS IN ANY OTHER WAY WOULD YOU?