Child obesity is very prevalent today. Family history has often been cited as a cause but today’s lifestyle is perhaps the reason why childhood obesity is on the rise. Kids are spending most of their time watching TV or on mobile devices today. This has reduced physical activity thus causing obesity. Their food and drink choices are also affecting their weight. While parents have a huge role to play in helping their children have the right weight, schools also have a part as children spend most of their time there. What therefore needs to be done to prevent childhood obesity?
1. Encourage healthy eating habits
Parents have an enormous influence on their kid’s habits. Take advantage of this and instill healthy eating habits in your children. Provide and encourage them to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products. Give them low-fat or non-fat milk instead of sugary drinks and encourage them to drink more water. Serve them with reasonable portions of fish, poultry, lean meats, lentils, and beans. These should be the go-to protein foods.
2. Avoid calories
Start checking the calories that the kids are about to consume before giving them the go-ahead. Limit the High-fat, high-sugar, and salty snacks for your child. Start giving them different types of fruits for snacks instead. Always go for low-fat, low-sugar treats with less than 100 calories.
3. Make Fruits and Veggies appealing
Research has shown that making fruits and vegetable appealing to children can increase their intake. The opposite already works as the rise of junk food can be attributed to the ads running on TV every day. Schools should offer fruits and vegetables as a policy or at least adopt features that encourage children to have more fruits and vegetables. Families should talk up fruits and vegetables and lead by example when consuming them.
4. Planting school gardens
School gardens planted in collaboration with the children can help them appreciate locally-grown foods and help them understand how they are used in meals and the benefits. Schools should consider landscaping with edible plants too. The foods produced in the gardens should then be used by the school to prepare meals. Gardening will also get the students physically active, and it is also therapeutic.
5. Avoid unhealthy foods at the school
Schools need to make an effort to put away the vending machines that have unhealthy food and drinks. They should invest in steamers, large refrigerators, and tilt skillets instead of deep-fat fryers or ice cream self-help coolers. They should ditch pizza delivery and order canning equipment which allows them to process and preserve fresh foods.
The eating habits of the parents can cause the children to be obese as parents often pass on these habits to their next generation. Parents should, therefore, spearhead efforts to get their children to adopt not only healthy diets but also a proper lifestyle including exercises. Kids spend most of their time at schools, and therefore these institutions have a key role to play when dealing with child obesity too. Schools and families need to educate the children on the importance of being healthy and make clear the risk factors of obesity, especially at an early age.