By Dr. Preeti Singh, Pediatrician
Childhood obesity is a serious condition plaguing many adolescents and children these days. Obesity brings along with it a plethora of health scares such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, all of which at a point of time were confined only to adults.
Obesity in children also results in depression and self-esteem issues. Too much of calorie consumption accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle and other hormonal or genetic factors contribute to obesity in children.
- Healthy Eating: Consider opting for vegetables and fruits over high-calorie and fatty foods such as crackers, cookies or other processed foods. Cut out on the intake of sweetened beverages that makes your child too full to grab other healthy foods. Encourage sitting together for a family meal and initiating interaction rather than turning on the TV or other electronic gadgets. Allow your child to decide his/her proportion of food and never over feed. This habit should be inculcated in the child since the formative years.
- Engaging in Physical Activity: Make sure and talk your child into not spending more than two hours sitting glued to the TV set or the computer on a daily basis. Rather, egg him/her on to go out in the open and enjoy the day underneath the sun. Try and start building in your child the habits of exercising and staying active right from the beginning. This will go a long way in deciding your child’s health and overall fitness in the future. Remember! Morning shows the day. And it’s up to you to structure out your child’s ‘morning’.
Quick Tips For Parents-
- Play time or physical activities in ways that your child enjoys, such as going for a walk or hike, playing at the park, playing sports, dancing or going for a bike ride (and join them!)
- Healthy home-packed lunches
- Drinking more water and eating whole vegetables
- Eating when you are truly hungry, not when you’re bored, mad, stressed, etc.
- Eating together as a family
- Decreased meal sizes
- Focus on health rather than taste
- Too much screen time
- Eating while watching TV or other screens
- Eating out
- Negative food cues and triggers by removing them
- Skipping meals if you are hungry
- Eating if you are not hungry
- Eating by the clock (you should eat when you’re truly hungry)
- Too much sugary drinks (sodas and fruit drinks)