Raising Healthy Children
By Chris Chenoweth
The popularity of television, video games and the Internet, combined with unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise, has created an epidemic of obesity in our children. The rise in childhood obesity is frightening and increasingly becoming an issue that we, as parents, must face. What can we do to help our children?
The prognosis of an overweight or obese child is grim. Overweight children are much more inclined to become overweight adults. Not only will they carry the excess weight into adulthood, but they will also carry the extras risk factors for weight-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
OUR JOB AS PARENTS
We, as parents, must spend quality time with our children. By sharing our time, love, and attention with them, we are nurturing them, promoting their self-esteem, and developing positive qualities that will sustain them into adulthood.
A healthy diet and the time you spend eating with your child are essential building blocks for future healthy habits. As parents, we must begin introducing our children to healthy habits as early as possible. The first way we can do this is by modeling a healthy diet and lifestyle ourselves.
TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH
+BE A ROLE MODEL. Parents must know what healthy eating is and teach their children to not only accept it, but to embrace it. Promoting healthy eating habits promotes a healthy body image for your children. Parents who follow healthy eating patterns themselves can protect their children against the possibility of eating disorders and other food-related disorders. Eating disorders usually stem from a feeling of being alone and disconnected from others.
+COOK DINNER FOR THE FAMILY. Expect everyone to sit down together at the table. This can be a huge challenge but it is a great way to observe your children's eating habits and spend some quality time together. Most children do go through periods of being very selective in their eating habits. This should not be a cause for concern unless it is excessive or becomes very rigid.
+ENFORCE HEALTHY EATING HABITS AT HOME. Get rid of the junk food in your cupboards and fill them with healthier choices. Have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereals available for snacks. Kids eat what is available to them, not necessarily what is good for them.
+SET LIMITATIONS ON TV, VIDEO GAME, AND COMPUTER TIME. Set aside a certain amount of time each day that can be devoted to those pursuits. Be consistent in your expectations.
+NEVER EAT IN FRONT OF THE TV. This sets a precedent that turns food into a pastime instead of an important part of your time together as a family.
+EXERCISE TOGETHER. Introduce your children to the joys of physical activities. Play outdoors sports and/or games. Go on daily walks, go bicycling or skating together as a family. If it is something that everyone enjoys, children are more likely to want to do it instead of feeling obligated.
IS YOUR CHILD AT RISK FOR EATING DISORDERS?
Consider the following behaviors as early signs of potential problems:
+Is your child reluctant to eat with the family?
+Is your child irritable and moody most of the time?
+Does your child skip meals?
+Does your child feel ashamed of his/her size?
+Does your child spend a lot of time in the bathroom before, during or after meals?
+Does your child severely restrict foods?
+Does your child have a poor self-image?
+Has your child lost or gained a considerable amount of weight?
If you can answer yes to several of these warning signs, do not panic. There are ways you can prevent unhealthy behaviors before they become eating disorders. Talk to your child. Communicate your love and support for them. Try to find out how they feel and why they feel that way.
If you must, look for outside support. The first place to go for assistance is your child's doctor. There are also many organizations and support groups that can help you and your child work through these issues.
In summary, to raise healthy children, the primary role of parents is to be a good role model. Nurture your children by spending quality time with them and letting them know how much you love and support them. Eat healthy foods together and participate in regular physical activities as a family. The result will be physically and emotionally healthy children.
About the Author
Chris Chenoweth is the author of the DO-IT-YOURSELF HOME, HEALTH & MONEY GUIDE, 500 pages of household tips, home remedies, diet and nutrition information, health issues and thousands of recipes! http://www.money-home-biz.com. Learn how to burn fat with one of the most effective and healthy fat-burning systems available, the BURN THE FAT program. http://www.ezniche.com/data/article.php?l=18
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