The amount we hear, see and read about childhood obesity is enough to scare anyone, and if you are a parent, it’s even scarier obviously.
The best thing to do is start out a child on fitness and good health as soon as possible. Inculcate habits of good health from the start, which will stand the child in good stead through life.
We know that obesity has some genetic component, however it is mostly lifestyle related. Both factors however can act in unison so that you can see patters of obesity or fitness in entire families. The lifestyle, eating habits, activity levels and habits of the family is what impacts a child the most.
Research has shown that when parents are obese, there is a 75% chance of the children turning out obese as well.
However, the family acting together and in unison making lifestyle and nutrition choices that lead to good health and fitness can have far reaching and sustainable results:
Start them off healthy: The chubby toddler or infant is cute and cuddly, no doubt, but fat child is likely to grow into a fat adult. So start your child out as you mean to go on.
Even as a toddler, there is no really need to smother the baby’s food in butter or keep offering sweets and fatty snacks. Get a baby used to the taste and sight and smells of healthy nutrition; those will be habits that could be lifelong!
Family meals: While it may not be possible for a family to have all their meals together, it is important that at least one meal of the day to have together. That way the parents can ensure that the child has a nutritious, satisfying meal under their watchful eye.
When possible the importance of eating healthy, or including fresh produce such as fruit and veggies in the diet each day can be explained to the children, so they grow up knowing what is good for them and what is not.
As much variety as possible: Right from babyhood, offer children a variety of different foods, not only so they create the taste for different flavors but also for nutritional reasons. They say the more color there is on your plate the more varied and nutritious your meal.
And the more varied your diet, the more variety of nutrients you get. This also teaches kids not to be rigid about meal preferences and they become more flexible in their food preferences.