In the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity has increased. Now, about 17% of American children ages 2 to 19 – or one in six kids – are obese.
Because children are heavier today, they are getting health problems that used to be found only in adults. Research suggests that obese children are at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health issues. Once rare in children, Type 2 diabetes now accounts for a high percentage of all new diabetes cases in kids. Plus, obese children are more likely to become obese adults.
The best way to help your kids avoid obesity or lose weight is to be a good role model. If they see you and other family members eating well and moving more, they may just follow your example. To help your child(ren) get and stay healthy:
- Limit how much time they spend in front of a TV or other screen to less than two hours a day.
- Plan an hour of physical activity into your child’s day. You can break it up into smaller amounts of time that add up to 60 minutes.
- Shop, cook and plan for healthy meals. Buy healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grain bread. Replace sugary drinks with water or low-fat milk.
- Start with a healthy breakfast every day. Instead of sugary cereals or pastry, serve whole grain cereal with low-fat milk, oatmeal or whole grain toast with a piece of fruit.
Accepting your children at any weight will help them feel better about themselves. With your support and encouragement, you can help them learn healthy habits that will last