3 Really Easy Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has become a worldwide epidemic. For the first time in recent history, our children have a shorter life expectancy and many researchers believe that childhood obesity is the number one reason. It is causing unnecessary health problems for our young children and teens. We are seeing and increased number of children and teens with high-blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

However, unless your child has a unique medical condition, obesity is preventable. I would like to share 3 very simple and easy ways to help prevent childhood obesity.

1. Remove high-fat fast food

In today’s busy times, many parents rely on fast food restaurants to feed their families. Honestly, it is not necessary to eliminate fast food from your family’s diet. You simply need to make better choices. My recommendation is to reduce the high-fat options like french fries, fried chicken, milkshakes and some hamburgers to once per week maximum. Most fast food restaurants have healthier options to choose from; therefore, use this time to start teaching your children how to make healthy choices. Fast food is not going anywhere so the sooner your child learns how to make healthier choices, the better prepared they will be when they are on their own.

2. Remove soda

Carbonated soft drinks are empty calories and have no place in your child’s diet. They have no nutritional value and are filled with excessive amounts of sugar.

If your child is addicted to soft drinks, eliminating them might be a very difficult process. I remember as a teenager, I was drinking about 4 to 6 sodas per day. You should start by limiting the amount of sodas your child gets per day until they reach a point were there are no sodas consistently in their diet. You can always have a soda as a treat; however, it should not be in your child’s regular diet. Another way to help reduce the amount of sodas your child drinks is to offer healthy alternatives like milk, water and natural fruit juices. You need to make sure that these juices are made with real fruit and have limited amounts of high fructose corn syrup.

Remember to lead by example even if you do not personally have a weight problem. It will be an extremely difficult process to cut sodas from your child’s diet if they see you still drinking 5 to 6 sodas per day.

3. Increase physical activity

The children of today simply do not get enough physical activity. They are too busy playing video games or on Facebook or Twitter. This has caused our children to become very sedentary. Unfortunately, physical education classes are being cut from most schools which is causing our children to get absolutely no physical activity in during the school day and most parents will be too tired from a busy day at work to do any physical activity with their child at night.

My recommendation is to encourage your children to join extracurricular activities like football, basketball, volleyball, marching band or cheerleading. These activities will help your child get the physical activity they desperately need.

Preventing childhood obesity does not have to be difficult. You can make small changes to a child’s diet and exercise that will last a lifetime. Children are resilient and can adapt to changes very fast. Do not be afraid to stand firm with your decisions because your child will thank you for it later.