Childhood obesity has become a serious health challenge in most parts of the world. The number of obese or overweight children has continued to rise over the years. If proper strategies on how to fight childhood obesity are not developed and implemented, the prevalence of this problem will continue.
Obesity causes several health problems in children, including high cholesterol levels in the blood, type 2 diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure, among others. It also causes depression and low self-esteem. In addition, childhood obesity is linked to earlier and higher death rates when the child becomes an adult.
Fighting childhood obesity requires collaboration and commitment of parents/guardians, teachers, community-based organizations, religious groups, health organizations, state and federal government and children themselves. All these groups can develop easy and smart strategies that can be used to fight obesity in children. The best strategy is to promote and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Easy strategies on how to fight childhood obesity
1. Adopt a healthy eating plan
Children should be taught how to choose healthy foods and their associated benefits. Some of the major causes of childhood obesity are unhealthy food choices and bad eating habits they emulate from their seniors. It is the responsibility of adults to teach their children about healthy foods and those they should avoid or eat in small quantities.
Encourage children to eat natural foods (vegetables, fruits, and whole grains) and teach them how to prepare meals at home. The portion sizes of food should also be checked. But this does not mean starving children by denying them food. The main focus should be to ensure a balance between the amount of calories consumed and those needed by the body.
2. Encourage children to be active most of the time
Most children nowadays spend a large percentage of their time sitting, playing video games, watching TV, messaging or doing homework. This has become a major cause of childhood obesity. Find activities that your children enjoy and make the whole family participate.
Limit your children’s screen time so as to give them more time to engage in physical activities. Your children should do at least one hour of physical activity daily. Let them walk to school; teach them how to plant, water and weed vegetables in the garden; send them to the shop and enroll them to fitness, gymnastics, swimming or dance group.
Another strategy to fight childhood obesity is to monitor the weight, waist circumference and body mass index and growth of your child. This will help in determining whether the strategy you are using is working or not.