Setting Good Examples“For parents, the best way to combat childhood obesity is by making small, permanent lifestyle changes both for yourself and your children,” suggests Dr. Muiños. “Set a good example by being active and encouraging your family to join you.” Here are some other small changes that can make a big difference:
- Limit the amount of fast food, candy, soda and other unhealthy food your child consumes each week.
- Offer your child healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, nuts and yogurt.
- Limit time for TV, computers and video games to a few hours per week.
- Don’t criticize a child for being overweight; this can lead to poor self-esteem, depression and eating disorders. Instead, offer your encouragement and support.
“The average child should be getting about 60 minutes of physical activity each day. So if you know your child isn’t getting that through a physical education class at school, encourage them to join a sports team or after-school activity. On weekends, incorporate physical activities into your routine. Instead of watching movies at home, go to the park, ride a bike or take a walk,” said Dr. Muiños.
For more information on childhood obesity, visit mch.com.