Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States for a variety of reasons. For one, more children are heading home to an empty house where no one is advising them about healthy meal choices or encouraging physical activity. Video gaming is another major problem as children are couch-bound for hours on end. Even the schools are compounding the problem, reducing recess time to cram in more subject matter. The youth of America needs to get moving once more and eat properly as well in order to reverse the current trend toward obesity.
Steps have to be taken from the earliest stages of life as physicians advise parents about a healthy diet for their children. It can begin with encouraging parents to make wise, well-rounded choices in baby food. As children take solid food, they need a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean meats. If healthy eating patterns are established at a young age, children will continue to eat well throughout their lives, maintaining a healthy weight in the process.
When doctors see the earliest signs of unhealthy weight gain, they need to take an aggressive stance with parents, making recommendations for change. Parents can make a food journal, listing the meals that are currently eaten in the home. From that point, physicians can guide them toward healthier options. The Paleo diet has become an exciting alternative that could be adopted by families to ensure that children eat well. It is based on the dietary patterns of the hunter-gatherer societies of the Paleolithic era, in which people lived off of the food of the land. They ate what they could gather or hunt, mainly subsisting on nuts, berries, fish, plants, and meat. Such a diet cuts out processed foods and sodium, sugar, dairy, legumes and all of the junk. Today, parents should choose organic and/or free-range meats, produce, and foods with healthy oils, such as coconuts, flaxseed, olives, and various nuts. Sweets and salty snacks should also be eliminated, providing fresh fruit, produce, and nuts for healthy snacking. When children are putting the right fuel in their bodies, they are less likely to be obese and it is up to their parents to stock the cupboards well.
In addition to eating properly, pediatricians need to prescribe physical activity and the health care industry can promote this by providing incentives through insurance carriers. Discounts on gym memberships or for exercise classes, including karate, gymnastics, and dance, would make it easier for parents to get their children involved in something active. Doctors need to remind parents that their children need to be active for at least one hour a day for overall fitness.
Families have to use teamwork in order to help their children to avoid or overcome obesity. In most cases, children that are obese live in a home where parents are obese as well. The entire family needs to make the right choices for a healthy lifestyle. Parents need to stop buying the junk food, keep fast food to a minimum, and stock the shelves with wise choices. There needs to be a limit on computers, gaming, and television and children need to be encouraged to get outdoors instead. Families can make time together, walking the dogs, biking, heading to the playground, or kicking a ball in the yard. Parents can sign children up for sports activities as well and if a child shows a passion for a particular support encouraging them in this and adapting their dietary requirements such as special supplements or whey protein to help build muscle and aid recovery after partaking in sports activity. If the weather does not permit outdoor activity, it’s time to put on an exercise video in the house. There are many programs that are intended for children and dance videos that capture the attention of all ages. When physical activity is a way of life for the entire family, everyone will benefit with improved well-being.
Getting the Educational System on the Bandwagon
Schools need to get on board as well, including recess for at least thirty minutes a day for children of all ages. Physical education classes are essential. If schools find a way to offer gym every day, children will be healthier. In addition, the cafeteria needs to offer well-balanced meals for children. When schools cooperate with families, children will be healthier.
What do you guys think? What can the U.S. do to decrease the incidence of childhood obesity over the next generation? Comment below.