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Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity

Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity

In the United States, childhood obesity stands as an important issue. According to the CDC, 14.7 million children and adolescents were affected by obesity from 2017-2020. Obesity is a serious health issue that can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, mental illness, many types of cancer, and more. As we recognize September as National Childhood Obesity Month, let’s look at ways to help prevent childhood obesity and help our children live healthier and more active lives.

Promote Balanced Eating Habits

A meaningful way to help prevent obesity is to promote balanced eating habits. Ensure your child's diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Limit the intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-fat snacks. Make mealtime a family affair where healthy food choices are modeled and encouraged.

Encourage Regular Exercise

Physical activity is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight and building strong bones and muscles. Encourage your children to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This could be anything from playing a sport, biking, or just playing in the park with friends. Making exercise a family activity, such as weekend hikes or after-dinner walks, can make it more enjoyable and sustainable. Showing your kids you are engaged in physical activity can help them decide to engage in more active behaviors.

Limit Screen Time

Smartphones control much of our daily lives. Americans spend an average of 5 hours and 25 minutes on their smartphone per day. Combined with tablets and video games, children tend to lead sedentary lifestyles. It's important to limit screen time and encourage outdoor play. Set rules around screen use and offer fun alternatives like board games, puzzles, or craft activities.

Promote Healthy Sleep Patterns

Research shows a link between lack of sleep and increased risk of obesity. It can be difficult for your kids to maintain a consistent and healthy sleep schedule, with homework and extracurricular activities making it tough to adhere to these schedules. However, finding a healthy schedule that ensures your kids maintain a regular bedtime and adequate sleep can help prevent obesity. Create a conducive sleeping environment free of distractions. Try limiting screentime up to 2 hours before your child’s bedtime.

Educational Programs

Schools can also play a significant role in combating childhood obesity by providing education about nutrition and the importance of physical activity. Encourage your schools to incorporate health and wellness programs into their curriculum. Look at your school’s offered lunch and breakfasts and work with your school to provide healthy and balanced nutritional options for your kids.

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital is Here for Your Health

Preventing childhood obesity can be a challenging task for parents and children alike. At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, we put health, wellness, and quality of life above all else to help your kids stay healthy. Schedule an appointment with us today to help create a plan for the health of your kids.