The accounts of childhood obesity are rising at an alarming rate. Many people don’t understand just how dangerous it is for children to be overweight. As a parent, you need to realize just how you could be putting your young ones on a path to an unhealthy adulthood. Before you just think it’s cute that your little girl has chubby cheeks or your little boy has those adorable rolls on his legs, consider what could happen in the future.
What the Doctors Have to Say
Doctors all agree that there is a link between childhood obesity and health problems in adults. Studies have shown that when children start their lives overweight, they will be much more at risk for the following conditions when they get older:
- Heart Disease
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
Additionally, there is social discrimination against obese children and young adults. By allowing your little one to get overweight, he or she could face teasing and bullying in school. Unfortunately, this could lead to self-esteem issues that continue to plague the child for many years, into their adulthood, hindering their social and educational development.
Childhood obesity isn’t cute. In fact, it is very dangerous and can have significant negative effects on a growing child’s health. If you want your own children to have the best chance at a healthy adulthood, then you need to make changes now.
How You Can Help Your Kids Get Healthy
Of course, you need your children to be active through play and sports, but a great deal of childhood obesity harkens back to the kitchen. Your children don’t know what it means to eat healthy foods. They will reach for whatever tastes good, and often that means they will eat unhealthy things. It is your responsibility as the adult to make healthy decisions for your little one.
- Don’t put too much food on their plates. If you provide food, kids will think its ok to eat. You need to be reasonable about portion for your kids.
- Encourage drinking water and avoid soda or high sugar fruit juices.
- Always make sure you are offering more vegetables and fruits than anything else. If kids want a sweet treat, give them something like berries or oranges instead of sugary candy.
- Limit how much sugar kids have in a day.
- Avoid saturated fats.
It can be very hard to get kids eating healthy after they are used to having sugar and fat in the past. You may have to do some work to change their diet. A good way to accomplish this is by taking dishes they already love and changing them to healthier options.
For example, if your children love macaroni and cheese, then try changing the usual high calorie type. Use skim milk and make cheese lighter. Then, add spinach or broccoli in the sauce. Kids will most likely never notice and they will simply enjoy their favorite dish while eating healthier and getting a portion of vegetables. If you do your research, you can find ways to secretly make kids’ favorite foods healthier.
Childhood obesity is very dangerous, mostly because people don’t take it seriously. However, a person who grows up obese will be more likely to have severe health problems in the future. As the parent, you have a chance to do something now and help your kids become healthy. It all starts in the kitchen and you will have to make the decision to avoid sugary drinks, high fat meals, and big portions. Instead, provide your kids will healthy snacks, encourage drinking water, and learn how to make favorite meals in more healthy ways.
Dr. Michael Barakate is a pediatric and adult otolaryngologist located in Sydney, Australia offering health and wellness information at ENTWellbeing.com.au.