We love our kids and we’re the first to indulge their every desire. But that tasty treat of creamy hot chocolate with bite-sized marshmallows and the oversized bag of salty, greasy chips while playing the latest and greatest video game for hours on end is setting them up for disaster!
According to a 2016 National Survey by the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health, ALMOST ONE-THIRD of children ranging in age from 10-17, that’s 31.2%, are considered obese or overweight.
Childhood obesity is on the rise from 13.9% in 1999-2000 to 18.5% in 2015-2016, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, with a few small parental adjustments we can alter the health of our children, and set them on a lifelong path of smart choices and great habits.
1. Cut back on screen time! Children ages 8-12 spend close to six hours a day in front of some type of screen; television, computer, video game or cell phone. While teens ranging from 13-18 are using media nearly 9 hours a day! These findings were reported on November 3, 2015 from a large scale study of tweens and teens in the US by Common Sense Media.
2. Increase physical fitness. Children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity everyday. These activities should be enjoyable, varied and age appropriate, according to the American Heart Association’s recommendations in October of 2016. If a 60-minute block is difficult, children can reach the 60-minute goal with two 30-minute activity periods or four 15-minute activity periods. Just get them moving while encouraging them to have fun no matter what they are doing!
3. Have healthy snacks readily available! Prep healthy snacks in advance so they can grab them when they are hungry! You can find 10 healthy Grab-N-Go snack suggestions in my article! Oh, and stop buying the unhealthy snacks they can’t put down. Out of sight out of mind.
4. Decrease the amount of sugar, salt, processed foods and bad fat intake with all snacks and meals. The fewer ingredients your food contains, the healthier it is! You can’t get much cleaner than fresh fruits and vegetables, there are no added ingredients in them and they are packed full of vitamins and nutrients.
5. Increase water consumption. Most children are not drinking enough water. Children 8 years of age and older should consume eight 8oz cups of water a day. A 7-year-old should consume 7 cups, a 6-year-old should consume 6 cups, and so on, all the way down to a 1 year old who should consume at least 1 8oz cup of water a day. These recommendations are from CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital in 2017. Also, remove the soda and sugary juices from your home. There are no benefits from them, so why have them around?
It’s funny, there was a time that watching a movie or a television show, or indulging in a sugary treat was just that, a treat. It wasn’t an all day occurrence, hence the name “treat”.
The time has come to consider a “back to the basics” mentality with screen time, activities and food choices, you know, a simpler cleaner way of eating and living. The future of your child’s health is YOUR responsibility.
Please let me know if you found this article useful. You are welcome to add your comments below.
Thank you – Michelle