By Chiomah Momah
Despite the fact that childhood obesity has reached an alarming proportion, some parents with obese kids have chosen to live in denial. This is fueled by ignorance and the ever busy parent who feels the need to constantly stuff their children with all sorts of goodies as a form of compensation.
To achieve this, it is necessary for parents to be in control of the quality and quantity of what goes into their children’s mouth and their lifestyle choices.
1. Lead by example: If your child is already overweight or has the genetic predisposition to be, then now is the time to inculcate healthy habits by starting with yourself. Monkey see, monkey do.
2. Get your children to become physically active: Fun activities such as swimming, playing tennis, basket ball, soccer, etcetera on a regular basis will most likely interest your child.
3. Offer healthy snacks: Rather than giving your children calorie packed soda and over processed sugar laden snacks everyday try introducing healthy options such as apples. Carrots, bananas, pineapples, watermelons etc are naturally sweet and tasty fruits that most kids will enjoy them.
4. Educate them: Explain to your children the benefit of exercise and eating right. Once they understand the benefits of eating right then half your job is done.
5. Let treats be treats: Let treats such as ice cream, fast food and candy be given occasionally and not daily.
6. Reduce sedentary activity: reduce the amount of time spent watching television and playing computer games. If you are not comfortable with them playing outside they can play active indoor games such as hide and seek.
7. Introduce Portion Control: Serve food on smaller plates so meals look larger. Two cooking spoons of rice on a dinner plate looks lost but would look large on an appetizer plate. Try not to rush through meals. Go slowly and give everyone a chance to feel full before serving more. Family sit-down meals also provide valuable opportunities to reconnect with one another.
8. Introduce Eating Slowly: Recent research has proven that it takes time for the brain to realize that it is no longer hungry. Studies also show that fast eaters are up to 115% more likely to be obese, compared to slower eaters.
Culled from Motherhood Instyle Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2.