Over the last thirty the Western world has had an epidemic slowly develop – Childhood obesity. In America, 17% of children between the age of 2 and 19 years are officially obese. This is a problem that is now spreading to other countries as well, with over a million children a year being classified as obese across European states each year.
Childhood obesity is more threatening that adult obesity, as the weight that goes on in childhood, can be more difficult to lose later in life. The threat to health from diabetes and heart disease are now presenting themselves in young adults in the twenties, serious diseases that are normally associated with later in life. This is at a large cost to their quality of life and very strained health services.
Preventative measures are being drawn up in schools, where children are learning more about nutrition, diet and healthy cooking. Many schools are also banning soft drinks, crisps and sweets. This has a secondary benefit of making classes more manageable, as these sugary drinks can excite children and make them less likely to learn. However the real foundation for this has to start from home and the example given there.
Research has shown a link between nutrition in childhood, and later productivity and learning achievement. It really is a foundation for life.
Making a change like this is a lifestyle change. Its aims are cumulative.
Here are 5 things that you can change immediately, to help prevent childhood obesity
Soda’s and Juices
Soda’s and juices that are high in sugar should be cut of the diet, they need to be viewed as a treat, rather than a natural part of the diet.
Fiber is your friend
Fiber is an excellent way of preventing hunger pangs, and over eating. It keeps one feeling full for longer. It is also an important part of our digestive process. Food that is high in fiber is great for starting the day.
Five a day fruit and vegetable
Children who eat a balanced diet with reasonable portions of fruit and veg. Each day, live longer and have less health issues later in life. They are also a good snack option for children, rather than chocolate or crisps.
One of the most important things that you can do to fight childhood obesity is instil a love of sports and being active. Look at what sports are in your area and sign them up. It is a great way to build confidence and make friends.
Kids are kids and if you give them a few dollars to buy lunch then they are going to go straight to the shop and buy junk food. If you pack their lunch, with a mix of healthy foods, snack and a nice treat. You’ll have some chance of maintaining control over their diet.
These options can form the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Being health conscious when eating does not mean anything sweet or unhealthy is forbidden. It is about having the balance of the diet overwhelmingly weighted towards healthy food. It’s a journey not a destination. Good eating and good health!