Obesity is both an individual clinical condition and is increasingly viewed as a serious public health problem. Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat and/or body water. Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might tip the balance include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods and not being physically active. Obesity can run in families, but just how much is due to genes is hard to determine. Many families eat the same foods, have the same habits (like snacking in front of the TV), and tend to think alike when it comes to weight issues. In most cases, weight problems arise from a combination of habits and genetic factors. Certain illnesses, like thyroid gland problems or unusual genetic disorders, are uncommon causes for people gaining weight.
Let’s take a look at 8 key areas:
#1 Encourage children to eat regularly
Make sure you’re offering 3 meals, and 2-3 healthy snacks every day, from a wide variety of different healthy foods.
#2 Encourage children to eat fruits and vegetables
Although some children aren’t fussed on fruits and vegetables, they are packed with essential nutrients. So, try serve at least one fruit, or vegetable with each meal and snack offered.
#3 Encourage children to avoid unhealthy breakfast cereals
While many breakfast cereals are marketed to children, they are far from suitable. Many breakfast cereal, cereal bars, and granola bars are so high in sugar they are no better than a candy bar.
Instead go for cereals that are whole grain, low sugar, low fat, and low in salt.
#4 Encourage children to eat dairy products
Children under 2 years of age should be consuming full fat milk. However, above this age, lower fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, and sour cream varieties are suitable.
#5 Encourage children to limit sweet drinks
Although children have a preference for soft drinks, squash, and fruit juices, they are extremely sweet, and provide practically zero nutritional value.
Try to limit these to special occasions, and serve mainly water or milk. Whole fruit juice is fine at breakfast.
#6 Encourage children to reduce their sugar intake
Most kids these days eat excessive amounts of sugary foods, such as cookies, candy, and donuts. But, this type of food is not healthy for children, and should be limited to infrequent treats, and always in smaller portions.
#7 Encourage children to limit their fast food intake
Fast food does not have to be a way of life for your children. It contains very little in terms of nutritional content, and a lot of fat, salt, sugar, and calories.
Teach your children while they are still young how to make healthy food choices, rather than filling them with fast food, and setting them on the fast-track to an unhealthy lifestyle.
#8 Don’t encourage children to overeat
Emphasize that they should only eat when they feel hungry, and stop when they begin to feel full. Also, never bribe or reward your children with food, such as using dessert as the prize for eating all of their dinner.