Check out these facts:
1) If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that the children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, the children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.
2) The factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents.
3) The three most significant elements contributing to obesity in a child’s life are: a) not eating meals together; b) not limiting TV time and not taking the TV out of the child’s bedroom; and, c) not getting at least eight hours of sleep. All of these factors are influenced by the parents’ lifestyle and choices for the kids.
Obesity in kids and teens is associated with higher levels of depression brought on by the desperate need to want to pass the acid approval of their skinnier peers. Obese kids are more likely to be bullied. Overweight and obese girls appear to be undergoing earlier onset of menses. And one in five kids has an elevated cholesterol level. Scientists predict that heavy kids will go on to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes at much earlier ages. I could go on, but you get the picture.
For everyone, here are steps you can take right now to become a better role model for healthy living:
1) Get the family on board with healthy nutrition. Make an appointment with a registered dietitian who can sit down with you and map out a strategy for tasty, nutritious food plans. Get the guidance you need from multiple resources. Check out the terrific support you can get from WebMD’s offerings in nutrition and fitness.
2) Plan for success. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Look ahead at the week and plan each day’s menus and activities. Have enough healthy food options available so there’s no excuse for anyone grabbing junk. Get the kids signed up for as many fun and challenging activities that their schedule will allow.
3) Enlist family members to help with grocery shopping and food preparation. Make eating healthfully a family affair. Assign tasks to each person so that they have pride in knowing they contributed to preparing any meal. Challenge your kids to hit the internet and learn something new about the food they eat.
4) Know what your kids are eating at school. In the best situation, you’re preparing their lunch and they take it with them. However, that’s not always possible. If the food being offered isn’t optimal, make your voice heard and push for change.
5) Sit down together and eliminate tech-interrupted meals. Get away from the TV, turn off cell phones, and put away iPods, iPads and video games. Hey, why not do something radical like sit at a table and talk to one another. This is a prime opportunity for parents to catch up with kids’ lives and vice versa.
6) Stop using food as a reward. So many exhausted parents simply give in and feed kids the junk they love while they veg out in front of the tube or computer. Fight the urge to take the easy way out. I know it’s so hard at times, but remember that you’re setting a foundation for their future lives. They’ll use food for themselves just as you’ve taught them.
7) Get up and move more. Parents have to make up for the fact that physical education classes are now so limited and most recesses have evolved into opportunities to text and hit video games. No one moves anymore. Parents need to create fun ways to incorporate more activity into every day.
8) Each family member needs to own their nutrition and activity plan. Everyone needs to honor their unique needs and to learn how to create and stick with a blueprint for eating and exercising that works.
9) Be patient. Behavior takes time to change. You need to keep practicing new behaviors on a regular basis to make them stick.
10) Get the kids to sleep on time. Kids and teens need no less than 8-9 hours of sleep each night. It’s up to you to make certain that happens. They’re watching you skimp on sleep, and they think it’s OK to do the same. Adults and kids who get the sleep they need have fewer weight issues and have the energy to be productive and happy members of society.
11) Realize the life giving win-win you’re achieving. Just as you’re helping your kids, you’re helping yourself. This is a royal double win. As you learn, you can be a better teacher. You’ll live a longer and higher quality of life, watching your kids, your very healthy kids, grow up and pass their lessons onto their own families.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
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