An alarming number of school-age children are either overweight or obese. Because this is such a common issue, it often goes unnoticed by parents because they don’t see that their kids look any different from other kids.
Unfortunately, it’s harder for children to lose weight when they get older because they have established habits that contributed to their condition.
There are some simple fitness tips that kids can do to help them combat and prevent weight issues. Remember, as the parent or guardian, you are responsible for your child’s general health.
1. Don’t Mention Weight or Diet!
Drawing attention to the fact that your child is overweight and that he or she needs to go on a diet can have a negative impact on his or her self-esteem. Children need to consume a healthy amount of calories to continue their normal growth patterns.
Instead of putting them on a limited calorie diet, get them into the habit of eating healthy foods at an early age. Make fresh fruit and vegetables readily available and accessible in the refrigerator or have them out for when they get home from school.
Your body craves what it eats. When your children eat healthy and nutritious foods their bodies will eventually crave those foods and their stomachs won’t compete for unhealthy, high fat foods.
2. Engage Children in any Kind of Physical Activity
A regular exercise routine might not be palatable to all kids, but most kids to like to engage in active play. Playing chase or tag at the park is a great physical activity and they don’t realize that they are getting some good exercise.
Regular bike rides, visits to the park or school playground, or kicking a soccer ball around can give kids a sufficient amount of physical activity. Taking the dog out for regular walks is also a healthy form of exercise. All kids enjoy swimming. Whether they are taking formal swimming lessons or just playing in the water, swimming is one of the best types of exercise that anyone can do.
3. Using Exercise Machines
If the child is of age and capable of using exercise machines, consider purchasing a machine which would be suitable for the child. For example, a home gym which works with resistance cables rather than heavy weights (such as the popular Bowflex PR 3000) might be a good choice as it is easier to manage and work with. Of course this is more appropriate for older teens and no younger unless supervised by a responsible adult.
If the child is intimidated by these type of gyms, try a recumbent exercise bike which is easy on the back and comfortable to sit in. This is a great machine for the less enthusiastic child because they can still watch TV or read while using the bike.
You can read both our Bowflex PR3000 review along with the Stamina exercise bike review. These reviews offer more details so you can learn more.
4. Establish Healthy Eating Habits at an Early Age
The best way to determine if your child is heading toward a future of weight problems is to get his or her pediatrician involved. Regularly measuring and tracking your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is the best way to spot and prevent potential weight-related issues. Engaging in preventative methods for combating obesity is much easier than trying to reverse the affects of the condition later in life.
Another way to prevent childhood obesity is to monitor the types of food your child eats. You do this by having meals together as a family. This not only strengthens family bonds, it also enables you to have control over the type and amount of food your children eat.
Avoid using food as a reward. It’s easy to use unhealthy food like doughnuts or ice cream as a reward or bribe for good behavior or good grades. This may work for a short time, but then it could easily backfire and lead to weight problems. You kids could start craving these types of food making it harder to eat the healthier items. It’s better to use small toy or a trip to a fun place as a reward.
Childhood obesity can lead to serious, life threatening health issues when kids get older. Dealing with this condition can be challenging, but it’s not hopeless. You can help your children get control of their eating habits and physical activities by training them early.