Throughout the United States, childhood obesity is a major problem. Statistics show that in 1980, approximately 7% of children between the ages of 6-11 and 5% of children between the ages of 12-19 were obese. By 2010, the numbers surrounding childhood obesity had nearly tripled and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 18% of children were obese.
Children who are obese face a number of serious health issues that can lower their quality of life now and into adulthood. They have a heightened risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, psychological problems, and many other medical related issues. In order for children to keep a healthy weight, parents must be involved.
Regardless of age, it's important for everyone in the family to eat a varied diet. Throughout the day, meals should consist of a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables. Parents should cut down on packaged treats, like chips and cookies, and replace them with convenient natural snacks, such as an apple or banana. Junk food should not be part of kids' daily eating habits, but rather a treat for special occasions like a family gathering or party.
It's also important for kids to eat breakfast every day. When they skip it, they may be driven to eat more unhealthy snacks or purge at the next meal. Parents can keep sugar intake lower by offering them oatmeal or whole grain toast for breakfast. Both can be prepared quickly and customized with toppings such as raisins or peanut butter that are healthy for their children.
Pediatric experts recommend that children should be active for 60 minutes daily. That activity can come in many forms, including everything from being involved with a school sport to running around outside with neighborhood friends. Even better, parents and their kids can be active together by playing in the backyard or taking the family dog out for a walk every day.
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