Preventing Childhood Obesity at Home and School
You can only do so much at home. Preventing childhood obesity in Fayetteville and Syracuse is up to our schools, too.
Since 1980, obesity among children aged six to 11 has doubled, while that of adolescents under the age of 19 has tripled. This is a big problem for the United States, as it directs our national obesity epidemic in a dangerous direction. Our children develop unhealthy lifestyle habits they are likely to hold onto long into their adult years.
Parents can do a lot to fight childhood obesity in Fayetteville, DeWitt and Syracuse. Packing healthy lunches, encouraging physical activity and reducing at-home screen time can make a big difference in your child’s health. However, kids spend a large part of their time in school, so if we want our children to develop healthier habits, it is imperative that the schools are on board and helping with that cause.
Luckily, many school districts around the country are making changes in their activity policies and lunch menus to help kids combat obesity, and childhood obesity rates in New York actually decreased in 2011. Schools around the country are taking sodas out of the cafeteria, eliminating vending snack machines and making a transition away from pizza and processed foods to healthy options like steamed vegetables, proper protein portions and no-sugar-added juices. Although not perfect, at least this is a start.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents are the biggest sources of support in helping kids develop healthier lifestyles. There are several things that parents can do to encourage their children to be healthy at home and at school:
- Be healthy yourself: Kids emulate their parents. Start following healthy lifestyle habits like exercising daily and making healthy snack choices. If you need help developing healthy habits yourself, talk with Dr. Scinta about medical weight loss options for adults.
- Cook dinner together: Involving kids in the cooking process is a great way to get them interested in the foods you are making. If you have trouble getting your child to eat vegetables, try having them help prepare them. Kids are sometimes more willing to try foods they helped make.
- Create family hobbies: It is hard to convince a child to stop going on the computer and to be more active when you spend your entire evening on the computer or in front of a TV. Get up and start moving together. Go for family walks through the park, have a game of catch in the backyard or get involved in team sports together. The more you integrate exercise into your family’s schedule, the easier it will be to keep up with your activity goals.
- Pack your child’s lunch: You have much more control over what they are eating.
These are just a few things you can do to encourage healthier habits for your children. What lifestyle changes have you implemented in your home to encourage healthier habits for your kids? Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment below.