Healthy Foundations: How to Prevent Childhood Obesity

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Food and Health, Health Care | 0 comments

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Children must develop healthy habits and prevent childhood obesity. With its consequences trailing behind children to adulthood, prevention is better than cure.

Childhood obesity is growing at an alarming rate. In fact, the numbers have continuously tripled since 1980, especially among the younger crowd.

They are more susceptible and flexible to change, making them an easy audience for behavioral adjustments. When it comes to meals, they could be easily taught about what to eat and what to avoid. With the proper guidance, they could simply follow suit and reap the benefits.

But despite these, children still fall victim to worrying patterns. What other factors could have contributed to these cases, and what can families do to prevent childhood obesity?

How Can Parents Identify Obesity in Children?

Parents adore chubby toddlers. They’re cuddly and adorable to watch over as they shuffle around the house. To the tender hearts of parents, chubby equals healthy. This signifies they’re feeding their children right and enjoying their childhood.

But at what point does this become too much?

Admittedly, there are instances when chubby children are within the healthy range. But how do parents recognize when their kids are veering toward dangerous territory?

Childhood obesity can be complex. It doesn’t appear similarly to all children, and it’s not caused by the same factors for everyone. To non-professionals, obesity can be very challenging to identify. Given it’s dependent on the child’s BMI, which can be tricky to gauge, not all obese children look unhealthy. This is why parents must look closely and prevent childhood obesity before things become worse.

Identification is the key. There are symptoms to watch for, but there are still instances when these signs are elusive. It’s best to consult professionals and hear what they have to say.

How Can Families Prevent Childhood Obesity?

Regarding “how to prevent obesity,” there are countless suggestions to consider.

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In Dr. Theresa Y. Wee’s book containing advice for a happy, healthy family, the author tackles how easy it is for families to lose control and fall victim to unhealthy habits. These problems are prevalent, especially today, when families may unconsciously choose to be unhealthy. Although healthier alternatives are available, quantity doesn’t automatically make them more accessible.

To the masses, the right options may be more expensive causing them to back down from their health goals. Fortunately, to prevent childhood obesity, expenses aren’t significantly impacted.

Families can still guide their children down the healthier path without emptying their pockets. But they’re required to take a consistently conscious and proactive stance against obesity.

If Possible, Always Opt to Breastfeed

To some, this may be an instinct. However, other mothers have other priorities to consider aside from giving their children the proper nutrients and benefits. It’s been said that children who have been breastfed exclusively until their 6th month are less likely to become obese. This is because they’re only getting the right amount of milk with the equally right amount of nutrients they need.

However, only some women are equipped to breastfeed; what should the others do?

Seek Advice from A Healthcare Provider

Professionals always know how to prevent childhood obesity. They know the complications and risks associated with it. Hence, they are firm advocates against the disease and well-versed in helping families avoid it. For parents new to parenthood or those not equipped with the right resources, it’s best to approach a healthcare provider for suitable alternatives.

It’s best to hear from someone who knows what’s best and safe. If parents are unsure how to prepare food that meets their children’s necessary nutrition, the professional can provide instructions. They can also help list other resources that can help prevent childhood obesity throughout the years.

Engage in Physical Activity Daily

When children have grown out of the breastfeeding stage, it becomes more challenging for parents to manage their children’s meals and nutrients. The moment they’re exposed to solid food and more alternatives, children develop preferences. They can choose what they like and don’t like, developing favorites they may want to eat daily. When this happens, some parents can’t help but give in.

This isn’t necessarily an evil decision, but parents must also consider the consequences. If they’re more than willing to give in to their children’s preferences, they must encourage them to engage in physical activities to compensate. This ensures that while their toddlers may consume unhealthy food, they will still remain physically healthy.

Why Does This Matter?

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There’s only one reason why families need to prevent childhood obesity. Obese children are more likely to grow up obese. This leads to more health risks, such as stroke, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. In preventing this as early as childhood, parents decrease the chances of their children suffering long-term, well into adulthood. Though there’s no one sure way to prevent childhood obesity, there are many ways parents can help set their children up for lifelong healthy habits.

If you’re interested to learn more about what contributes to childhood obesity, look into the books written by Theresa Y. Wee M.D.

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