A staggering 24 million children in the US are now overweight or obese – that is 1 of every 3 of our kids! Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were previously seen only in adults, like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and heart disease. Sadly, the current generation of children is expected, for the first time in human history, to have a shorter lifespan than their parents as a result.
The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented and treated. One of the most important things we can do as parents is to model healthy eating behaviors for our kids. We’ve observed again and again at OSR Weight Management that when Mom and Dad make that commitment to changing their diet and lifestyle – cutting out excess sugars and unhealthy carbs – kids actually DO follow along. Kudos to all our hard working parent-patients: you are making a big difference!
Some other tips for families:
-Be proactive; at your child’s annual physical, ask the physician to calculate your child’s Percentile BMI which can identify whether s(he) is at a healthy weight, or at risk for obesity and associated health problems.
-Get your kids involved in planning/cooking meals, rather than stopping for fast foods on a regular basis.
-Make veggies interesting, like “ants on a log” (almond butter on celery sticks with a few raisins on top)
-Start gardening as a family. Kids are more likely to want to eat veggies if they helped grow and harvest them from the ground. Plus – what a fun Kailua activity!
-Mix up family time around activities, movement, and the outdoors rather than just sitting in front of a screen (which can lead to over-snacking)
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