Six Incredible Ways to help kids maintain a healthy weight
It is immensely disturbing to witness steady rise of obesity in kids. In the U.S. 39 percent of Latino kids are overweight, followed by black kids (35 percent) and white kids (29 percent). In India, obesity among kids is equally worrying as there are a large number of them being overweight. How have things come to this pass and how can parents help their kids in maintaining a healthy weight? Here are few ways in which this is possible.
While a little plump kid would seem adorable to the parents, things might not be as rosy at it seems. The whole quality of the life of the overweight kid is compromised, feels Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., director of San Antonio’s Salud America!, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. “Unfortunately, when kids are this heavy, their whole quality of life is compromised,” says Amelie.
Overweight kids are more prone to bullying than their normal weight counterparts. Besides that, they are less likely to indulge in physical activities as compared to normal kids. Growing up as unhealthy individuals is another health risk posed to them owing to their weight. “A major issue is that the rate of diabetes, which is linked to obesity, is extremely high,” says Fernando Mendoza, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Stanford University, in California.
Here is what you can do:
Start with getting the facts right:
Solution to weight problems starts with getting the facts right. As indicated above, a chubby kid seems adorable to the mother, but it shouldn’t be that way. Parents should be concerned in case their kids are overweight. They should be taken for regular weight checks. Our research shows that Latino parents tend to show concern when their child is obviously obese, but not when they’re overweight,” says psychologist Javier Rosado, Ph.D., a Florida State University College of Medicine professor and the director of Salud Immokalee, Florida.
Limit serving size:
In most cultures, food is a way to express love. Parents shower a lot of it at their children, which can be utterly unhealthy. Parents ought to learn limiting the serving size and even deny second serving to their kids. Investing in kid-size tableware should be considered. One advantage of using such tableware is that the total amount of food consumed by the kid would be limited in this way. Another particular advantage of using kid-size tableware is cultivation of finishing the food that they have been served. Smaller plates serve as a reminder of serving less and that reduces the worry of wastage as well.
Limit the servings of sweets:
Cholesterol rich diets pose a serious problem in certain parts of the world, particularly India. In addition, there is generous consumption of sweets and snacks. Incessant marketing of fast food products poses another health risk. Soda, desserts, chips, pizza and burgers are readily consumed by kids of all age groups across diverse cultures. Parents can make their bit of contribution by substituting treats for rewards with homemade whole-grain snacks, vegetables and fruits. “They may balk at first, so it can be helpful to provide kids with two healthy choices,” Dr. Rosado says. “If your child asks for cookies, rather than just saying no, you might ask, ‘Would you rather have an apple or some pineapple instead?”
Opting for fresh food over fast food
Switch on the TV and the most advertisements that you come across happen to be those of fast foods, cola and the likes. Mushrooming of fast food joints have made the same easily accessible for the kids. The combination of the above essentially makes the job of the parents even tougher. It would be a fine idea to shop smart and involve kids in the process. Let them know how their favorite chips and the likes happen to be loaded with calories that are not good at all for their tender bodies. Get them involved in the decision making regarding purchase of groceries and make them learn about benefits of healthy snacks over fast food items.
Make the kids workout
There is hardly any substitute for exercise when it comes to weight loss. The kids need to be taught about the benefits of the same. The parents can set a fine example by being the perfect role models. Alas, in India, the concept of exercising isn’t too appealing for many parents. However, the practice of yoga has got popular in recent times and that has made people move themselves a bit. Kids can be involved in the process to make them fit. “The best way to help kids lead a happy life is to model a healthy lifestyle yourself,” Dr. Ramirez says.
Team up with friends’ families and others looking for solution to the same problem. Indians and Hispanics are sociable and that fact could be used for enormous benefits. Why not team up with others and plan activities together! For instance, kids’ races, bicycle (bikes in the US) rides could be organized. Games like football (or soccer), hockey (or ice hockey), and basketball could be opted and resources could be pooled for organizing activities better.
“Something that’s so special and unique about our culture is the way that we prioritize children,” he says. “Latino parents work super hard to give kids what they need, and once they find out what’s best they will do everything they can to make that happen. With some more information and help from their communities, these kids are on course to becoming the healthy adults we all want them to be.”
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