We all must have heard how drastically childhood obesity is increasing. According to data, India is second in the world after China in terms of obese children. Childhood obesity can be told by measuring body mass index or BMI. Children with BMI ranging from 85 to 95% are considered obese. Overweight and obese children may be exposed to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, asthma, or fatty liver at a relatively young age.
Have you ever thought about how we can reduce the risk of obesity among our children? Here, we are going to talk about 5 steps so that you can fix childhood obesity easily:
- Don’t let your children skip breakfast: This important meal kick starts a child’s metabolism, helps burn more calories, and prevents overeating later in the day. And monitor what they’re drinking. Most of the young generation don’t drink the recommended amount of water. It is recommended to drink seven cups a day for 4- to 8-year-olds; 9- to 13-year-olds need 9 or 10 cups a day and teenagers need 10 to 14 cups a day. Soda, sports drinks, and juice tetra packs are not healthy alternatives, as they generally are loaded with sugar. Stick with water or low-fat milk instead or make healthy smoothies.
- Encourage them to be active: Regular exercise burns calories, builds muscle, and keeps the weight off. Exercise that is done in a moderate to vigorous state is best. This can include jogging with the dog, bicycling, playing football or anything else that increases their heart rate and also they love to do.
- Give priority to fruits and vegetables: When food shopping, cut back on convenience foods such as cookies, crackers, chips, and prepared meals which are often high in sugar, fat and calories. Go for more fresh fruits and vegetables and inculcate the habit of eating them as parents are the role model and children often learn what they see. For example, make sandwiches using colourful vegetables like green, yellow bell peppers so that it looks appealing to children.
- Switch-off the TV while eating any meal: Kids may overeat if they watch television while eating and find it difficult to attain a feeling of fullness. Research has shown that the more television children watch, the more likely they are to gain extra weight. It is also noted that children with televisions in their bedrooms are also more likely to be overweight than children with TV-free rooms.
- Control the portion size: One of the major reasons that people eat too much at meals is that they tend to eat what’s on their plate. As portions have increased, so have the calories while we eat. For example, you can serve food on smaller plates so meals look larger. A sandwich on a dinner plate looks lost while on an appetizer plate it looks perfect.
Over to you:
Even slight changes can make a big difference in your child’s health. Encourage them to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and reduce the amount of time spent in sedentary activities since these are the best ways to prevent obesity.