In just under 30 years, the number of overweight and obese children in America has tripled, and this number continues to rise. There are many reasons that the number of overweight children in the country is rising, including unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Even babies under the age of 2 can be overweight, and those between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight at a rate of nearly 20%. While cultural history encourages fat babies as a sign of health, the reality is that many parents are over-feeding their children. Here are some ways to stop childhood obesity from a young age:
Track Weight Gain: It is certainly not necessary to have your child step on a scale each morning, but pay attention to their weight at each visit to the pediatrician, even from an early age. Speak with your child’s doctor about what weight range is appropriate, and ask for advice if your child is heavier than the recommended range.
Encourage Physical Activity: Many children spend hours in front of the television and computer, even at a very early age. Limit sedentary time and encourage family fitness, including playing games outside, playing in the park or just going for walks together.
Pay Attention to Food Intake: Babies often have an easier time sticking to an appropriate weight when they are breast fed for a minimum of six months. Beyond that, parents should ensure that the portion sizes and types of food are correct for their child. Learn how to count calories and make sure your child has enough each day without gaining any excess weight.
If as a parent you struggle with the eating habits of you or your child, consider learning more from a weight loss clinic where you can obtain advice on specific techniques.