Habits, Weight Loss

Childhood Obesity is Growing at an Alarming Rate

Obesity is a condition that can shorten your life and can seriously affect you mentally and physically.  Parents are living in a world where obesity reigns and the children are following in their footsteps.

It often has its roots in childhood. Obesity in children is growing at a frighteningly fast rate; there are more obese children now than ever before.

“Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago.” (CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/)

Here are a few points to think about when trying to prevent obesity and health problems for your children.

  • Small children are normally energetic and often require snacks in-between meals. It is most important to choose healthy snacks for your children.
  • Sugar is an addictive food; the more you eat, the more you want to eat.  This is what quickly escalates one snack into a food addiction and in turn, leads to obesity when the body starts storing the excess sugar as fat.
  • Soda and sugary snacks, like candy, can produce hyperactivity in many young children and will sow the seeds for problems later in life by leading to dental problems and the beginnings of obesity.  Use alternative snack choices when possible.

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Alternative Snacks   Vegetable snacks like carrot sticks and celery boats are a good and fun alternatives to chips and “junk food” snacks.   Fruit can be substituted for candy and sugary snacks.
  • Breakfast cereals are one of the biggest perpetrators in a child’s diet

Everyone is in a hurry in the morning and it is easy to reach for the cereal packet for a quick family breakfast.

However, be careful of these presweetened cereals as they put unnecessarily large amounts of sugar into your child’s system, laying the grounds for sugar addiction.

There are many alternatives to presweetened cereals. There are many good tasting “healthy” cereals providing added fiber and less, if any, sugar. These are good for your children as they will provide them with a much more nutritious breakfast and not just fill them up with sugar and excess carbohydrates.

Take your child shopping and discuss the cereal choices that they have and allow them to pick out the cereal from your previously stated choices.  This gives them the control they want, allowing them to be more accepting of the cereal.  If they decide they do not like that one, try again next week and let them make a new choice.

  • Fast food habits begin when children are very young

This is reinforced by extensive TV advertising and propaganda for these foods. It is constantly embedded into our subconscious to eat hamburgers, chips and other fast foods.  Fast food chains and “junk food” chains are smart…they have done their research and know what attracts the children and what causes the “addiction” to their foods.  Children have an inborn liking for these foods and can easily become quite addicted to them.  It is wise to try to keep these foods limited within their diet, as they are not the healthiest foods to eat, especially for children who are growing and need nutritious foods to develop properly.

  • Good eating habits begin when children are very young as well

It can start from the time they first start to eat. It is very important to a child’s health to start good eating habits at a young age. It is possible to lay the foundations of good and healthy eating habits when children are still quite small.

It is just a question of educating ourselves and passing on good habits to our children. Take the time to shop with your child, introduce them to new foods and get them involved with the meals.  When you do this you reduce the possibility of obesity in your children, as well as yourself, and all the mental and physical risks involved.

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