6 Tips To Prevent Child From Obesity
By: Kratika Mon, 18 Oct 2021 6:23 PM
A mother of a 12 year old visibly overweight girl, seemed perplexed and rattled by the way her doctor scared her stiff. He admonished her for letting her preteen pile on kilos; forewarning her of being just a shoestring away from lifestyle diseases like Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, etc. The mother had been oblivious to the fact that her preteen was ‘unhealthily’ overweight and not ‘healthily’ plump as she had come to believe.
However, she is not alone in this situation. As a nutritionist, I see this scenario play out so often. Many of us wake up to the perils of obesity when a doctor opens our eyes to the harsh reality.
Many of us are perhaps genuinely not aware of the causes of obesity and ways to prevent the same.
So, here are a few tips to help parents to take proactive measures to prevent their child from obesity by promoting a healthy lifestyle:
# Provide nutritious meals and snacks
Healthy meals and snacks provide nutrition for growing bodies while modeling healthy eating behavior and attitudes. Focus on balanced nutrition - fruits, vegetables, grains, low-sugar cereals, low fat dairy products, and lean meats. Establish daily meal and snack times, and plan family meals as frequently as possible. Plan sensible portions.
# Encourage kids to exercise regularly
Physical activity reduces health risks and helps weight management. Participate in family exercises and games on a regular basis, such as walks, running, bike rides, hikes, swimming, and active games and sports. This is an exciting and interesting way of involving inactive kids to step out of the house. Exercise keeps kids moving which burns calories, builds strong muscles, and prevents putting on unnecessary weight.
# Be a role model
Make sure that you eat healthy foods and exercise regularly to maintain your weight before you set out to do the same with your child. Don't expect your child to do something you are unwilling to do for yourself. Parents who make an attempt to eat well-balanced and nutritious meals have a positive impact on young ones who always try to emulate their parents.
# Reduce sedentary activities
Limit the amount of time children spend in front of screens like television, video consoles, tablets and computer to ideally a maximum of 1 hour per day. This will encourage kids to be on their feet, to play and lose excess weight. Screen fixation is a habit difficult to break, which eventually leads kids towards a sedentary lifestyle, further inducing the risk of lifestyle diseases.
# Provide 5-6 smaller and frequent meals
Instead of fixing 3 big meals a day like breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is healthier to administer 5 to 6 smaller meals. Smaller and frequent meals control body’s blood sugar. This in turn, controls the cravings for unhealthy simple carbohydrates like cakes, cookies and chocolates, keeping the weight under check.
# Discourage eating meals while watching TV
Eating in front of the TV makes it difficult for the child to pay attention to feelings of fullness. This may lead to mindless overeating, which in turn, may lead to obesity.