Are You Hurting Your Child’s Health?
“You are the reason your child is obese.” That statement is hard to grasp for parents of obese children but it is true. Childhood obesity is a continuing epidemic for the world, especially in the U.S. In a current U.S. health study, they discovered that no real significance have been made to alleviate childhood obesity in over 10 years. This should make you question why kids are remaining obese (and most stay obese as they reach adulthood) despite all the efforts to eliminate it. The answer lies in the child’s home environment. While we can easily wag the finger at little Johnny for not exercising or eating enough fruits and vegetables, it is his parents who are truly at fault. Let’s explore 5 ways how parents contribute to the problem of childhood obesity.
- Not cooking healthy meals for your child
McDonalds and other fast-food restaurants are profiting a lot off of childhood obesity. The reason for that is because parents want to give their children a quick meal instead of taking the time to cook them a healthy, nutritious meal. Understandably, working a 9 to 5 job daily is stressful and cooking is the last thing you want to do when you get home; nonetheless, your child needs to learn how to eat healthy. It will be difficult for them to embrace eating healthy when you’re giving them a Happy Meal every other day.
Solution: Simply start cooking healthy foods. If time is an issue, then prepare slow-cooking meals at home prior to leaving for work. It should be ready when you get home. Also, as a parent, you have the right to cook whatever you want. Too many parents get caught up in thinking that their child won’t like broccoli or whatever healthy food they cook. Well you won’t know until your child tries it out. Besides, you’re the parent so allow your kid to adjust to the new, healthy way of eating.
- Not living a healthy lifestyle yourself
This step is so obvious, yet most parents of obese children do not live a healthy lifestyle. This results in the child NOT learning how to live a healthy lifestyle. Too many parents are unaware that their actions are being monitored by their children. Habits that a parent exhibits will likely be repeated by their child. If the parents don’t exercise, they likely won’t exercise. If the parents don’t eat healthy foods, they likely won’t eat healthy foods. It is simple as that.
Solution: Start making lifestyle changes to improve your health. Regardless of your current physical condition, living a healthy lifestyle is essential for everyone. By adding a child into the equation, it intensifies the need to practice healthy habits. While it is not guaranteed that the child will start living a healthy lifestyle, at least you expose them to it (while improving your own health). There are many programs out there that help with teaching you how to live a healthier life. One program that is gaining a lot of traction is the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. This wellness program not only helps people get a fresh start on their health, but also teaches valuable lessons on proper diet, exercise, and overall nutrition needed to live a healthy lifestyle.
- Telling your child to always clean their plate
The “clean your plate” mentality has been running rampant in American families for decades now. The child being told to eat everything on their plate because there are starving people in Ethiopia is the classic “clean your plate” line parents (usually mothers) deliver to their children. This mentality is likely what leads a child to becoming obese. Constantly eating past satiety is a sure-fire way to gain unwanted weight.
Solution: Parents need to inform their child that it is okay to not clean their plate; therefore, eat until they’re satisfied. The human body signals that it is satisfied regardless if a person cleans their plate or not. It doesn’t make sense to tell children to eat everything, especially when they are no longer hungry. Let them eat until their satisfied. If you are feeding them proper nutrition with healthy proteins, this will help children feel full without eating a bunch of junk.
- Not providing your child a healthy sack lunch
The worst culprit of childhood obesity is these school cafeterias. They are notorious for feeding kids foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value because they are cost-effective. In other words, the school system uses cheap food to feed your child. So what do you think will happen when you feed them more cheap food (i.e., fast food) after school? Weight gain of course.
Solution: Start giving your child a healthy lunch to take to school. It doesn’t have to be a 5-star meal either. For example, you could pack a small turkey breast sandwich on whole wheat bread, an apple and a bag of organic blue chips. Through the Advocare challenge program, parents will learn what snacks are healthy and satisfying for kids. Parents can also take note of proper food portions for school lunches and snacks.
- Not enough physical activity
Back in the late 1990s to early 2000s, childhood obesity became an epidemic. Ironically, around the same time frame, video games, internet and other technological advances started to become leisure activities among adolescence. While there is nothing wrong with those activities, it made many kids become sedentary in which led to obesity. Today, that problem remains relevant. Even if a kid doesn’t eat a lot of junk food, they still can gain weight if they are mostly inactive per day.
Solution: Enroll them in flag football or a basketball camp, organize family walks, play catch with them, etc. I could go on and on but you get my drift. You have to encourage them to start moving and getting active. The best way to do that is to participate in activities with your child when possible.
The childhood obesity epidemic wasn’t created in a day. Nonetheless, by following these 5 steps, you can do your part by helping your child get into great shape and begin living a healthy lifestyle for years to come. Not only will you be doing a great service for your child, but will be planting the seeds for your gran