Combating Childhood Obesity

Healthy eating and physical activity are keys to your child’s well-being. Eating too much and exercising too little may lead to excess body weight and related health problems that may follow them as adults. Here’s how to help your family learn healthy eating and physical activity habits that last a lifetime:

  • Buy and serve more fruits and vegetables. Let your children choose them at the store.
  • Buy fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snacks like chips, candy and cookies. Not having these temptations in the house will make the healthy choice easier.
  • Make sure your children eat breakfast every day. Breakfast provides your children with the energy they need to listen and learn in school. Skipping breakfast can leave your children hungry, tired and looking for less-healthy foods later.
  • Eat fast food less often. When you visit a fast-food restaurant, encourage your family to choose healthy options.
  • Offer your children water or low-fat milk more often than fruit juice. Juice that is one-hundred-percent fruit juice is a healthy choice, but it’s high in calories so serve it sparingly.
  • Limit the amount of saturated and trans fat in your family’s diet. Instead, get your fats from sources such as fish, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
  • Plan healthy meals and eat together as a family.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your children won’t eat a new food the first time it’s served. Some kids need to have a new food served 10 times or more before they’ll eat it. Let your kids assist in preparing meals. They’re more likely to eat food chosen and prepared by them.
  • Avoid using food as a reward when encouraging kids to eat. Promising dessert for eating vegetables sends the message that vegetables are less valuable than dessert.
  • Start with small servings and let your children ask for more if they’re still hungry. They should determine the amount of food they need, and the amount a child eats can vary from day to day.
  • Be aware that some high-fat or high-sugar foods and beverages are strongly marketed to kids. Usually these products are associated with cartoon characters, offer free toys and come in bright packages.
  • Set a good exercise example. If your children see that you’re physically active and having fun, they’re more likely to be active throughout life. Fun physical activities that kids choose are often the best. Kids need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but this doesn’t have to happen all at once. Several short bursts throughout the day can be just as good, as is being active together as a family.

All of these tips can help you and your family stay healthy for years to come. By making small changes to your daily habits, your family can stay health and active. To learn more about keeping your family healthy, visit FortHealthCare.com/FamilyWellness.

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