Childhood obesity is an epidemic. Easy access to fast food, soda consumption and a sedentary lifestyle are among the culprits that contribute to our kid's weight challenges. It's amazing to read about the slack First Lady Michelle Obama caught when she shared her concerns regarding her daughter's weight. Check out First Lady Michelle Obama's interview on CNN. I applaud her for taking action against childhood obesity and making it her mission to combat this crisis. This won't be an easy task though. A recent study concluded that childhood obesity is a precursor to early death. It also determined that adults who died of cardiovascular disease or diabetes were obese as children. What this study doesn't implicitly state is the fact that parents and guardians are a driving factor in determining the long-term health of our children. That's where you (the parent) comes into the picture and you can help tremendously to get (and keep) your kids at a healthy weight.
There are some practical ways to help your kids maintain a healthy weight. When you're attempting to make healthy changes, the last thing you want to do is make drastic cuts - keep things gradual yet consistent. The first thing to do is set realistic goals. If your kid drinks soda on a regular basis, ditching all the soda will only complicate matters. Instead, try mixing half a glass of grape juice with some seltzer water. Making a subtle change like this will help them move toward removing soda from their diet completely.
Another tip is to enlist your kids when shopping for food. Try a game of "Pick Your Favorite Color." In the produce aisle, allow them to pick three of their favorite color vegetables or fruits. Once they select their choices, choose some fun side dishes that can be made for an upcoming meal. A final tip is to design an obstacle course with your kids. Get some cones out along with some jump ropes and get active! You'll have a ball and your kids will too!
The more you enlist your kids in the process of eating healthier and participating in (fun) exercise, you'll be well on your way to get your kids on track. Don't get discouraged if your efforts are met with some resistance at first. It'll take time to make these changes permanent, but trust me the earlier you do it the better things will be for the entire family!
Be sure to visit often for my series on ways to keep your kids healthy for life!