It’s no secret that obesity has been on the rise. Everywhere we look there are more studies done to alert us to this growing problem affecting so many Americans. What is surprising is how many children are now being affected by obesity too.
So why is childhood obesity becoming a problem now? Why are we seeing rising trends every year? As parents what can we do? I’ve identified 3 main causes of childhood obesity, and what you can do to help your child stay healthy.
1. Screen Time
We’ve all heard about the problem with screen time in our daily life as adults. Screen time is not something simply affecting adults anymore. In past generations, television and video games were the only screen time available, but with technological advances in smart phones and tablets we have seen an increased amount of time being spent in front of a screen.
It’s our job to limit the amount of time our children are in front of a screen. The use of smart phones and tablets has become such a part of our daily lives sometimes we don’t realize how much time our children are engaged in active screen time.
I suggest first sitting down with your children and explaining why limiting screen time is important. I recommend limiting your child’s screen time (outside of homework) to an hour. Set a timer or limit it by what activity they are doing on screen. Doing this will not only help them to get up and move when they’re done, but it will also teach them how to be in charge of their own screen time.
2. Less activity
When I was a kid I remember being out all day. I walked, ran and biked everywhere. At school, I had a long recess and participated in after school activities. When I got home I played outside until dinner time.
Children today are not as active as children in past years. Recess time is much shorter in schools than in previous years. Many schools don’t have after school activity programs. The activities available outside of school are usually costly and not available to all families.
Take time to note your child’s daily activity over the course of a week. Make sure they are getting in some type of activity every day. Staying active doesn’t have to mean boring! Do something fun like play kickball or tag. We’re all stressed for time so make activity time your family time. You can take long hikes or walk around the neighborhood.
Let’s face it life is busy. Each week seems busier than the last. It used to be families sat down at the end of the day and ate a home cooked meal together. Today, it seems a constant struggle to find the time to not only sit down together, but eat nutritiously sound food.
Everywhere we look “convenience foods” have become the norm. We simply chose convenience over nutrient rich food because we don’t have the time during the week to make long and complicated meals. Lack of time coupled with unhealthy processed convenience foods
Is a recipe for weight gain for our children.
Always plan ahead. Make sure to plan meals for your family for the week, and then prep your food so it’s ready to go during the hectic work week. Make it a family activity to get everything ready. Also, try and lessen the amount of pre-packaged and processed foods your children are eating. Always opt for fresh fruit and vegetables and non-processed items, like string cheese and yogurt.
Check out Delta Life Fitness for more tips and a way to create your personal fitness plan!