Children are facing the perils of obesity at an alarming rate with 17% of kids between the ages of 6 to 19 being overweight or obese, according to research.
Unfortunately, a lot of these overweight kids are victims of a lack of balanced home prepared meals due to the busy lifestyles of parents, whom are probably not eating wisely themselves.
Fast food style restaurants are more concerned with their bottom line rather than feeding the consumer with an inexpensive, healthy, low calorie tasty meal. Kids and parents keep going back for more since it fills you up, taste good and it’s affordable.
The poor are really in the grips of fast food eating, since you can fill up on belly, butt and thigh busting foods for under $5.00. Eating fish or salads at these chains is one way to avoid a consistant bad diet.
Becoming overweight or obese is a symptom of inactivity and poor eating habits and if not prevented, the child will grow up with all of the health, employment and social issues associated with obesity. It is important that parents take steps now before the kids need to start dieting.
If parents don’t lead by example and find a way to teach their children the importance of exercise and healthy eating, the chances of them forming good healthy eating and fitness habits are pretty slim. Leading by example is the best course of action.
Obesity wasn’t an issue in past generations, if a child wasn’t helping with the many chores that needed to be done, they were out on the street or on the ball field playing fun cardiovascular, fat burning type sports and games. Today most children find television and computer games a way of life.
With half of American families not having a sit down meal, many kids have to make their own food decisions when they get hungry, so they are left to the mercy of what ever is in the fridge or cabinets, or have money for a five dollar meal. If there is one stay at home parent, then providing consistent balanced healthy food, exercise and physical activity is essential.
Schools are at last playing an important role in offsetting the childhood obesity epidemic by providing students with more nutritional food choices. Results of the 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS), released 10/19/07, reveals that schools are offering more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and low fat dairy, and less high fat foods.
The foods parents provide at home can echo what the schools are offering with more fruits and vegetables, more whole grain products and less high fat foods and soda pop. Also, only 18.8% of schools offer deep-fried potatoes, down dramatically from 40.0% in 2000.
Some Tips: Parents need to try and prepare more healthy food for the kids and themselves, such as cold whole grain cereals or hot oatmeal to start the day and fill up on more large low calorie salads, dressed with vegetables for example and fruit for dessert. Prepare meals for the week on the weekend so when the kids reach for something to eat it will be of nutritional value, and don’t leave out protein…Cut way back on the five c’s, candy, cookies, cakes, cola and chips, unless their made of whole grain products.
The formula for maintaining a healthy weight is no different for children than it is for adults. Burn more calories than you take in and you have the best chance possible for weight control. School sports or sports outside the class room is one surefire fat burning activity, but if this isn’t feasible encourage the kids to start the day with some aerobics and stretching that will counteract all the TV and computer sitting, or 10 minutes of exercise for every hour they sit.
Kids today rely on their parents and the school system to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to make good choices and avoid heart disease, cancer, diabetes and the other perils of poor eating and inactivity.
Research: One study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children and if being overweight begins before the age of 8 years, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe. Source: Centers For Disease Control (CDC)
Another study concluded that if a women was overweight before she became pregnant, her child was nearly three times more likely to be overweight by age 7 compared to a child whose mother was not overweight or obese. Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The simple equation for healthy living still applies to everyone; Burn more calories than you consume and combine quality exercise with the proper foods and diet plan to maintain optimal health.