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Causes of Weight Gain for Young Children & Suggestions for Improvement
One of the primary concerns of parents today is weight gain among youth under the age of eighteen. In the US, 33% of children and teens under the age of eighteen are overweight or obese. This is causing children to develop serious weight-related health problems that were only seen in adults. Such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Several factors of modern living are contributing factors for this situation with our children.
Eating habits: Many times families are on such a strenuous schedule that we tend to grab things that are not the most nutritious for growing little ones to consume. Calorie-dense, high-fat and processed foods tend to be less expensive and more convenient to serve, however lack the nutritional value developing bodies need. Parents have the perfect opportunity to teach their children healthy eating habits from the time they are old enough to begin solids. Everything from starting with vegetables before fruits are introduced to a structured feeding time will assist in your child developing healthy eating habits that will last through adulthood and decrease the chances of your child becoming overweight even as they approach the toddler phase.
Physical Activity: The lack of physical activity is also a contributing factor to weight gain among children. Simple changes to help your child get active can make a huge difference in their lives. Parents you are your child's role model. Be proactive and encourage them get into the fresh air and sunshine by getting out there with them. A few ideas are to simply go into the back yard and pass a football. This opens a great opportunity not only for physical activity, but great conversation as well. Go to a local park and toss a Frisbee. Bike-riding on a local bike trail is one of our families favorite activities. A walk through your neighborhood is also a fun way to get the heart pumping.
Technology: Technology is likely playing a roll in the weight gain of children as well. TV, computers, and video games are among things we all enjoy, but can be a hindrance when it comes to children's physical activity. There are plenty of educational television shows, software programs and educational video games to stimulate the mind. However It is important to set limits as to how much time children are allowed to enjoy these things. There are several games available now that offer more than just entertainment or learning. If your child is a gamer, you may consider these options for physical activity to take place while still enjoying a "video game."