Building Healthy Habits to Prevent and Treat Childhood Obesity

September is National Childhood Obesity Month. Health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are raising awareness of childhood obesity to encourage individuals, communities, industries, and our nation to take measures to prevent and treat this preventable disease.

10 Easy Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Helping your child establish healthy habits early in life is one way to prevent and treat obesity. Here are some tips to consider as we help our children move in a healthy direction.

  1. Make the healthy choice the easy choice. Keep plenty of whole fruits and vegetables in your home and on display. If the good stuff is out of sight, it’s probably out of mind.
  2. Minimize processed foods in your home.
  3. Start a garden. Allow your children to help with the entire process, from picking what to plant to using the items in a meal.
  4. Make water your drink of choice. Sugar-sweetened beverages wreak havoc on dental hygiene, gut health, and metabolism. As often as possible, offer water first and often.
  5. Eat the fruit, don’t drink it. Most drinks marketed to children (and adults) as fruit juice are sugar, water, and flavor. Even fresh-squeezed orange juice lacks the fiber and nutrient punch of eating a whole orange.
  6. Encourage physical activity. Physical activity doesn’t have to be formal exercise or sports. Children naturally enjoying playing. Sometimes they just need a little encouragement.
  7. Minimize inactivity. Guard against prolonged sitting at all costs.
  8. Eat more meals prepared from home vs. fast food and restaurants. You’ll save money and minimize excess calories, sodium, fat, and sugar.
  9. Keep healthy snacks available. The time between school pick-up and dinner is tricky, and all willpower evaporates. Be kind to your future self and keep something good on hand for you and the kiddos (e.g., nuts or a cooler with fruit and cheese).
  10. Discuss nutrition and physical activity in terms of health, not a diet. Dieting can lead to chronic dieting, body image disturbance, and poor emotional and mental health. God created us to be different shapes and sizes. Remember the amount of excess weight that is unhealthy is different for each individual. Creating healthy habits that support a healthy weight, energy, and vitality is the goal. Encourage your children to be grateful for the body that God has given them, and teach them to care for it.

For more tips and solutions, check out the following links:

 


About the Author

Melissa Troncoso is passionate about helping people cut through the clutter of misinformation and overcome barriers to achieve success in weight management, health, fitness, energy, and life balance.  She is a native of Houston, Texas, and world traveler thanks to a 17+ year career as a Navy Nurse.  A lifelong learner, she is a third-year PhD student studying obesity and weight cycling.  She enjoys reading, eating good food, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two children.     

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K-12 Independent Christian School in Northern Virginia

Located just over 20 miles southwest from Washington, D.C., 10 miles south of Route 66 in Fairfax, and 10 miles west of the Capital Beltway

Educating students to the glory of God by pursuing excellence for mind and heart since 1987


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