In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in teens, leaving many at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer.
One of the best places for dealing with this problem is at home. By having the whole family make healthy choices, you can help your kids meet healthy weight goals.
Watch what you buyTo help stop obesity, it’s important that parents and caregivers create a healthy environment at home. A recent study shows that what kids eat at home affects what foods they choose to eat at school, as well as their overall attitude towards food. Eating a lot of processed foods and drinking sugary drinks in the home can lead to unhealthy habits.
Easy steps, such as making fruits and veggies part of each meal or shopping together, can make a difference in children’s lives and help build healthy habits for life. Another way you can combat obesity is by arming your kids with knowledge to make better decisions. One important thing to learn is what to look for on a nutrition label in order to choose healthier snacks. Here are just a few things for them to scout on food labels:
You‘ll also want to steer your kids away from foods that contain trans fats. These foods increase the production of “bad” cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to show how much trans fats are in prepared foods. Look for this on the label and limit buying these products.
What else should you look for on the label? Look at the percent of daily values for saturated fat and dietary cholesterol and add the numbers together. Values of 5% and less are low, while values of 20% and more are high.
Here are some ideas for the whole family:
Add color to the table
Be wary of those trans fats
Plan your menus for the week
How much to eat?
Get active with your kidsTo fight obesity, set easy fitness goals to get you and your family moving. Take a 30-minute walk each day, play tag, dance in your living room or go to the park.
How do you help your kids eat better at home? Does it help?
Sources: American Heart Association, Let’s Move, CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, Science DailyResources www.chopchopmag.org
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