Five Ways to Help Kids Gain Life-Long Health Habits During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
Childhood obesity is an ever-growing health concern that can negatively impact children and lead to health problems later in life including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol as well as poor self-esteem and depression. In the United States, childhood obesity numbers have continued to climb over the last 50 years, affecting approximately 13.7 million children and adolescents. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, have put together five tips to help kids lead healthier lives.
1. Cut Down Calories. Most kids ages 6 to 12 years old need from 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day, depending on how active they are. Removing high-calorie choices from your child’s diet is an easy way to help treat or prevent childhood obesity. Foods that are high in fat, sugar, or salt can cause your child to develop unhealthy eating habits. Limit these foods to special occasions and replace them with snacks that are fresh and naturally low in fat and added sugar, such as, apples, bananas, blueberries, or carrots with hummus.
2. Enjoy Exercise. Plan fun athletic activities the whole family can enjoy. A brisk morning walk, evening bike ride, or afternoon of inline skating can help your child get the recommended 60 minutes of moderate exercise each day and help you get moving, too. Some other fun activities to try include, playing tag, swimming, dancing, and jumping rope. Physical activity has many additional health benefits including stronger bones, decreased blood pressure, and reduced stress. Be sure to set a good example for your kids by allowing them to join you in your exercise routine or joining them in their outdoor play, you will both reap the health benefits!
3. Shrink Screen Time. Increasing the amount of physical and mentally stimulating activities in your child’s day can have a positive impact on their overall health. It is recommended that children do not spend more than two hours a day watching television, playing video games, or surfing the web, as this habit has been linked to childhood obesity. Encourage children to replace these activities with fun outdoor play or indoor games that get them moving, like hide and seek. Also, discourage absent-minded eating or snacking in front of the television or computer as this can lead to overeating. Mindful eating, meaning without distraction, can help kids and adults listen to their body’s hunger cues and keep from overindulgence to maintain overall health.
4. Alleviate Anxiety. Helping your child develop a healthy relationship with food from the start can allow you to prevent childhood obesity and unhealthy eating behaviors. Let your kids listen to their own appetites by providing meals in the correct portion sizes and respect that they might not always finish what is on their plate. Encourage them to wait at least 15 minutes before offering a second serving. Try offering non-food treats to encourage good behavior and promote a positive attitude toward sweets. Don’t go too extreme and forbid dessert, because this only makes them more desirable. Instead, save them for special occasions and enjoy in moderation.
5. Sample Sustenance. A variety of different options can make healthy eating easier, especially for kids who are picky eaters. Include plenty of new and colorful vegetables and fruits to try like sweet bell peppers, squash, grape tomatoes, and snap peas. Provide lean meats, including poultry and fish, plus lentils and beans for protein. Also, encourage your kids to drink plenty of water. If they need encouragement to stay hydrated, try adding bright citrus fruits to their water for a nutritious and tasty boost. Bring them in on the fun and let them pick out some recipes they would like to try – even if it’s something simple they can help make like smoothies or a Greek yogurt veggie dip!
About Envolve, Inc.®
Envolve, Inc.® is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. Envolve unifies specialty pharmacy, PBM, vision, dental, 24/7 nurse advice services, diabetes management, MSO solutions, and more. For more information, please visit our website www.envolvehealth.com or contact us at email@example.com.