Encouraging your child to choose the right foods and get enough exercise can be a daunting task. Many children are exposed to a variety of drinks and snacks loaded with sugar, and spend too much time on electronic devices. Physical activity has dramatically decreased as child and teen obesity rates are on the rise.* Kidfixers Pediatrics offers tips that can help keep your child at a healthy weight for a lifetime.
1. Say “NO” to sugar
Children are drinking too many sweet beverages, especially soda. Drinking water instead of two cans of soda per day or another sweet drink is equal to losing one half-pound of weight per week! Cutting down on processed sugar and fat and getting servings from each food group is a healthy lifestyle approach that can become a habit. Involving children in meal planning can also teach them how to make better choices.
2. Learn portion control
Reference charts are great tools to help children learn portion and serving sizes. For example, a medium-sized piece of fruit is equal to the size of a tennis ball. Instead of allowing your child to sit down with a whole bag of potato chips, help them measure out one serving. Choosemyplate.gov is a good resource that has child-friendly printouts you can use to help your child learn the right portions and serving sizes of foods.
3. Get moving
Planning time together as a family is a great way to increase physical activity. Start by choosing a couple 30-minute time slots each week where you plan to walk, bike or run. Doing something active after dinner is also a great way to burn calories and rev up the metabolism. Limit usage of your child’s electronic devices and encourage a variety of age-appropriate physical activities they will enjoy.
*cdc.gov (Nevada State Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Profile