A large percentage of children in developed countries are overweight. Obesity is steadily on the increase and drastic measures are being taken worldwide to try and understand and ultimately deal with this growing epidemic. There are two areas of intervention, first is how can we assist families of children who are obese or borderline obese. The second is how we prevent childhood obesity in the future. As far as prevention is concerned we have gone right back to the early days of feeding babies. What milk your baby is being fed (breast or bottle) may have a more significant role in preventing or causing childhood obesity than what was previously understood. When and how you wean is another area that is being closely looked at in the quest to prevent this growing epidemic. Studies suggest that the early feeding environment may be a significant factor in childhood obesity. The findings showed that children who had been breastfed longer had a lower fat mass which could not be explained by differences in family background or the child's height. It was also found that, independent of the duration of breastfeeding, children with higher quality weaning diets including fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared foods had a greater lean mass at four years of age. Many children acquire bad habits right from their own homes. One way to see is how much time a child spends in front of the television or playing games on the computer. One way to change this is to have rules that encourage children play outdoors. Having children participate in outdoor activities would be one way parents can provide help for overweight kids. Teaching by example is the way to inculcate in children the right habits. Eating healthy meals prepared from fresh nutritious ingredients would be a start. Removing junk food altogether may not be the right way but by controlling their intake, the child can eat better meals. Taking time out to exercise together as a family and having healthy meals together would be great for all. Also, limiting TV time to a certain number of hours would be help for overweight kids; they can learn to become active and spend time outside engaging in activities with friends. These healthy habits are best formed in the early years when introducing solids to your baby as well as in the toddler years when you need to set boundaries. These boundaries can include healthy foods choices, mealtime routines as well as regular physical activity with limited TV times. It is much easier to train these healthy habits from early on in your child’s life than having to undo bad habits and train new ones later on in life. Here are some practical tips when it comes to introducing your baby and toddler to snacks
Snacking for healthSnacking is not a bad thing -- in fact, it's a good thing -- and it can actually help keep kids from overeating at mealtime But even while we're bombarded with choices by the snack food industry, it's not always easy to find healthy snacks -- much less get your kids to eat them. Here are six simple guidelines.
- Relax the Food Ties That Bind
- Choose the Lesser of the Evils
- Portion, Portion, Portion
- Make It Easy to Eat Well
- Make It Yourself
- Think Outside the Cookie Jar!