Childhood obesity has become a major concern in the United States. It has been said that one out of four children of this generation will end up with Type II diabetes. Weight loss for children has become a huge topic amongst health professionals and parents alike. In order to help these children, there are some important aspects of children and weight loss to understand.
Primarily, these kids live sedentary lifestyles. Beyond food choices, a major step in helping these kids with weight loss is to get them away from the computers, video games and television. Kids today have so many options for being sedentary and in front of a screen that it is sometimes difficult to convince them otherwise. Its more challenging for parents today to get their kids active because of all these options and also because it's no longer safe to send our children out to play in the neighborhood. Increased traffic and traffic speed is an issue as well as the obvious fear of kidnappers. Our world just isn't safe enough anymore to let our kids run about outside without a parent watching. So what do we do to encourage our kids to be more active in an effort to achieve weight loss?
We have to be creative. Organized sports are a great choice if parents can afford this, but even organized sports only offer a few classes per week which is just not enough activity to promote weight loss. Exercise needs to become part of the daily routine in a household. This exercise needs to be something the child enjoys and not seen as a task. Making a daily family walk, perhaps with the family dog, is a great idea to get your kids moving. Perhaps every other day, an evening at the neighborhood park playing tag will do the trick.
Weight loss for kids also involves helping them make better food choices. So many kids today are accustomed to eating fast food at least two or three times a week because of our schedules. Unfortunately, these meals are loaded with fat and calories. In addition, when children are used to eating these highly flavorful salty foods, their taste buds are likely to reject a lean piece of grilled chicken or bland vegetables. Taper back your fast food per week and work towards limiting these "treats" to once or twice a month.
Begin introducing more healthful meals for dinner. Truly, "good for you" doesn't have to mean bland, boring dinners. We all grew up with meat being the main focal point of a meal, but a small piece of meat is really quite sufficient. Now that calories have been saved by offering smaller amounts of meat, you can dress up those veggies and make them more exciting and palatable.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy in weight loss that some would have you believe; however, as Americans we certainly don't need to strive to get the appropriate amount either. Offering a small amount of whole grain couscous with meals as opposed to a heaping amount of macaroni and cheese is a great alternative to the side dish.
Above all, be patient. For the most part, your children will not have a significant amount of weight loss. Rather, they will maintain their weight as they gain height and grow into their weight.