Obesity in children is on the rise. According to statistics shown by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there have been dramatic increases in childhood obesity over the last ten years. Why is disease control doing research about children and weight? It’s simple – obesity is related to major health issues. These include, but are not limited to, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain kinds of cancer.

Parents need to stop this trend. These are young children and almost everything that they eat comes from the home. To help your children get healthy and stay healthy you have to start now.

  1. Limit the number of sugar snacks that a child can have in one day. If they have cookies and milk after school, give them fruit after dinner. Provide them with alternatives, this is not a choice for the child. Keep fresh fruit and vegetables in the house. You have to find a balance.
  2. Do not go overboard. Many parents go too far and do not allow their children to have any kind of sugar treat. This is not the solution. Children who are not able to have any sugar snacks find a way to get them. They will trade at lunch, go the neighbors etc. and by the time they are teenagers they will probably be eating more junk than you realize.
  3. Avoid the word fat. This is especially important if you have girls. You do not want your eight year old dieting – you want them to eat healthy. Rather than stressing how much weight they might gain, stress how healthy they are becoming. Emphasize balance and nutrition.
  4. Get the child moving. Playing soccer twice a week is not enough. Children need to get at least half an hour of exercise every day. If your child likes video games, consider getting them a game like “Dance Dance”. This game is a really great workout and it is a lot of fun.
  5. Avoid take-out foods. Everyone is busy and has very little time. The next time you go to the grocery store, buy a tray of cut vegetables. The tray will cost less than a pizza and will last a number of days in the refrigerator. Even if you do order a pizza, consider placing a number of vegetables on the child’s plate and only one slice of pizza. When the vegetables are gone, they can have a second piece if they are still hungry.
  6. Change your shopping habits. Take the child with you to the grocery store. Only buy one case of pop. Tell the child that it will have to last for two weeks and if they drink all the pop in a day they will not get any more. Do the same thing with the cookies. Teach them to control and spread out their treats. Let them know that they can have treats, but not all the time.
  7. Lead by example. Children imitate their parents. When you sit down to watch TV, bring a tray of fruit and leave the chips in the kitchen. Take a walk with your child. This will give you a chance to get some exercise and the opportunity to talk.

You, as the parent have to change if you want your child to be healthy. Change is not always easy, but it does not have to be hard either. Small changes can lead to bigger ones.