You’ve likely heard about the rising numbers of overweight children in our country. Many children are, in fact, struggling with their weight and not getting the physical activity they need for optimal health.
Whether your child is heavier or not, it’s well worth your time as a family to adopt healthy habits now. Teaching them healthy choices when they’re young will increase their chances of being a healthy adult too. There are some simple, effective strategies you can use to ensure your child is leading a healthy lifestyle — today and for years to come:
- Get them interested in fruits and vegetables. If you typically don’t buy a lot of these foods, it’s never too late to start. Make some simple substitutions. Instead of bread with dinner, use fresh fruit. Instead of chips in their school lunch, pack them a piece of string cheese and some cucumbers. There are lots of ways to gradually introduce healthier, lower-calorie foods into your daily lives without making it extreme.
- Don’t single anyone out. If you have one child who is overweight, don’t put her on a special diet while everyone else eats whatever they want. This can lead to shame and low self-esteem, and could make her less inclined to participate. Instead, make healthier choices that everyone can enjoy. Cook the same thing for everyone at the table: just make it healthier overall.
- Don’t make foods “forbidden.” If you tell your child he can’t have that cupcake, he’s likely going to want it more — and may resort to getting his favorite foods at a friend’s house or when you’re not looking. Instead, teach moderation. Tell him he can have the cupcake, but only after dinner - if he’s still hungry.
- Get junk food out of the house — and healthy food in. Many kids come home from school hungry. Give them appetizing, easy, healthy choices like cut up veggies and fruit, whole grain bread, and low-fat dairy instead of chips, cookies, and packaged foods. Out of sight, out of mind is the rule here.
- Watch beverages. Drinking high calorie beverages like juice and soda has been linked to obesity. Try making fruit water, and have fat-free milk available instead.
- Get out and exercise as a family. Go for walks, bike rides, or swimming. Make it a fun activity, not a “workout.” It doesn't have to be a long, involved process that leaves everyone exhausted. Any movement you get is better than being sedentary.
Making healthy choices as a family can really work in your favor, whether or not you want to lose weight. You’ll be decreasing your risk of illness, and building a healthy foundation for yourself and your children that can last a lifetime.
CarePoint Health Bariatric Surgery
CarePoint Health Center for Bariatric Surgery offers a number of different weight-loss surgeries to help you meet your weight-loss goals, including sleeve gastrectomy, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, LAP-BAND®, and REALIZE® Band. To learn more about our bariatric surgery options, contact us at 201-795-8175 and register for our free seminar.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.