With the dramatic rise in obesity numbers over the past decade, this has caused many to reconsider the types of foods they regularly eat. One often overlooked statistic is the rising obesity numbers of children under the age of 15. This is an alarming trend that will continue to increase unless parents take an active role in correcting this problem. Let’s look at what the problem is and steps that can be taken to help improve the situation.
Growing up in the 70’s my childhood was very different from what children deal with today. Fast food restaurants were few in number, nowhere near the amount you see on practically every corner today. There were probably only 8 kinds of potato chips and only sold in giant bags, not like the personal snack size options kids munch on today. I don’t even remember using the microwave until around high school – ohh those frozen pizza pockets.
I also didn’t have to grow up with video games. I remember Atari was barely coming out in the early 80’s and even though my parents did buy us one, no way did it rule my life. I did not camp myself in front of the television to play those games for hours on end, day after day.
These Days Kids Dictate What They Want To Eat Far Too Often
Maybe that was due to the fact that I was involved in many team sports such as basketball, soccer, and baseball. Maybe it was also due to the fact that I had a number of same-aged children on my street growing up and we’d always find some activity to do outdoors whether it be building clubhouses, skateboarding, racing remote control cars, or just hanging out playing board games, that is what I remember most of my childhood.
However these days it’s much more common to find children camped out in front of the television either watching HD movies or playing graphic video games. Herein lies the problem. Just as we adults will often snack while watching tv, kids will do the same and with even less self-control than adults.
If you have children between the ages of 5 and 14, when they watch television or play video games regularly, do they generally snack during these activities? If so, what are the types of snacks they consume? Is it usually something healthy like carrots sticks or apple slices with water, or is something more along the lines of potato chips, ice cream, or the sugar packed soda?
If you want your children to eat healthy, you have to provide healthy options for them to eat. Don’t set them up to fail by having a refrigerator packed with soda and juice along with countertops littered with potato chips, cookies, and crackers. How can you expect them to eat in a healthy manner with these items strewn everywhere?
Don’t purchase those things from the supermarket and instead offer fresh fruits ready to be eaten or pre-dice and mixed together. Prepackage some almonds with raisins, carrot sticks with light ranch, or celery sticks with peanut butter. Have bottled water or other 0 calorie beverages in the frig instead of the soda, energy drinks, or juices that may be there right at this moment.
If your children need complete meals, leftovers packed and labeled in plain sight in the refrigerator may be a great option. This will save them from ordering pizza delivery or talking you into picking up fast food on the way home from work.
If bad eating habits have already been going on for some time now, then it may be more difficult to get your household to change their ways. There may likely be complaints, whining, and possibly even arguments that arise from this change in the usual.
Just remember, it’s your house, your rules. You are the one in charge of their health and well-being until they turn 18 years of age. You can even explain to them that being a good parent is more than putting a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food in their bellies.
It also includes teaching them about proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy life. Don’t let your kids dictate what they are going to eat. They will have the rest of their adult lives to eat in a manner of their choosing so for now, instill in them healthy eating habits.
Helpful Obesity Statistic Link –> http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/facts.html
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