Childhood obesity is a serious concern these days. To put things into perspective, 17% of children aged 2 to 19 in the United States are obese. This accounts for about 12.5 million kids. Unfortunately, the obesity rate among children and teenagers has rising been for decades and is unlikely to decrease anytime soon.
There are a great number of factors that contribute to childhood obesity in the United States. The main ones are a lack of regular physical activity, frequent consumption of fast food and sweetened beverages and increased usage of electronic devices.
In light of this, it is important that you teach their children about the need for regular exercise and healthy eating. However, that is not enough. The best way to ensure that your kids follow your advice is for you to practice those good habits as well. Here are some steps you can take to set an example for your kids in fitness.
Children and teenagers need at least one hour of physical activity per day to keep fit. As a parent, you can encourage this by engaging in fun activities with them. Riding a bicycle, jogging, hiking, and taking a walk are all great ways for the whole family to exercise together. Allowing your child to bring their friends or choose the activity helps them to keep them excited about exercising.
It is important that your child sees you exercising on a regular basis. This will cause them to see it as a normal part of daily life and encourage them to incorporate it into their own lives. A great way to achieve this is by having a home gym that is suitable for both adults and children. When your kids see you using the gym, they will naturally want to emulate you. Using the home gym together can then become a regular bonding activity for you and your kids. It will also provide your kids with a fun way to get in regular physical exercise.
Engage in Healthy Eating Habits
The whole family needs to refrain from consuming junk food and soft drinks. Indulging in them occasionally is fine by they should not be a staple food. Teach your kids about how unhealthy fast food is and encourage them to make healthier food and beverage choices for themselves.
A great way to do this is by bringing your kids to the supermarket with you and introducing them to the various healthy foods. You can explain to them why some foods are more nutritious than others and why it is important to consume a variety of healthy foods to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need.
To get your kids more involved in healthy eating, you can allow them to choose some of the groceries on their own, as long as they pick healthy choices. You can then incorporate the food they choose into your family’s meals or your child’s school lunch. Doing so will make your kids feel more involved in their own nutrition. It also teaches them to make good food choices from an early age. Such healthy eating habits are likely to follow them into adulthood.
Restrict the Use of Electronic Devices
Children these days spend many hours a day on their phones, watching TV or playing video games. Research has shown that kids get an average of 7.5 hours of screen time in a day. This is a huge contributor to childhood obesity. When children spend so much of their time entertaining themselves with electronic devices, they have no time for other healthier forms of entertainment, such as physical exercise.
As a parent, it is your job to limit your children’s screen time to a maximum of 2 hours a day. You should refrain from excessive use of such devices as well.
In the end, the best way to teach your kids is to be a role model.