Childhood obesity is one of the greatest chronic health problems plaguing our nation. The American Heart Association reports that one-third of all children are obese, and that number has more than tripled in the last 50 years. That is a disturbing pediatrics statistic that many parents are working hard to reverse. Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is a lifelong challenge for many people, and when it starts at such an early age the battle can seem overwhelming. Parents have the power to help their children overcome weight problems for a better quality of life. These tips outline the steps every parent can take to help their child:
Most experts recommend that children should be physically active for at least an hour a day. While that may not seem like a lot, it can be intimidating, or nearly impossible, for a heavily overweight child who currently gets little to no physical activity. Start with smaller goals and slowly work towards the one-hour goal. Take a ten minute walk after dinner each night. Play on a neighborhood playground for 15 minutes. Throw a frisbee around in the backyard or kick a soccer ball around for 20 minutes. Stay positive and show how easy it is to incorporate fitness into your routine.
Help your child raise his or her confidence by praising accomplishments. Kids who feel they're good at an activity are motivated to continue. Help them see the progress they've made so they feel accomplished and positive about their capabilities.
Don't send your child out to be active alone. Make it a family activity by playing together and having fun while being physical. Show them that you care about your own health and work hard to stay active, too. Whether you struggle with obesity or not, it's important that you set a good example for them while spending quality time as a family.
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