Kids on the Move
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. These stats make us shudder -- so what can we do to make sure our families aren't included in them?
A Family Affair
A great way to combat childhood obesity is to let your kids move early on. Some ways to fight the battle of the bulge as a family are:
- Encourage exercise. Moving as a family can make activity seem more fun and less strenuous. Frisbees, footballs, jump ropes, and bicycles are great ways to incorporate physical activity your family time. Also, look into school and community sports programs that your child might enjoy.
- Watch the screen scene. How active is your child's TV time? What can you do to set a good example? Stretching, lifting weights, and challenging the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks, or leg lifts during TV commercial breaks are great ways to knock out lethargy. Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day. More importantly, enforce the rule. Studies show that kids with TVs in their rooms watch about 1.5 hours more TV a day than those who don't. Plus, it keeps them in their room instead of spending time with the rest of the family.
- Offer healthy snacks. Some ideas are: fresh fruits and veggies; canned fruit packed in light syrup or water; parfait made with yogurt and pureed or chopped fruit; jello with canned or fresh fruit; bagels with soft cream spreads; orange creamsicles made from orange juice, yogurt and water.
- Make meal time family time. Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals. Turn off the TV during meals and make meal time family time. Better yet, remove the TV from the eating area if you have one there. Family meals are a good time to talk to each other. Make eating together a priority and schedule family meals at least two to three times a week.