Obesity in people of all ages has become a major health problem in the United States. Often, it starts with obesity in childhood. We at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers share the concerns that our lifestyle with an abundance of high-calorie foods, large serving sizes, and lack of exercise sets the stage for unwanted weight gain throughout our lives.
We’d like to offer some guidelines for ways to help your family avoid the obesity traps in our culture. These guidelines are based on standards set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which studies and compiles best practices for healthy children.
Focus on Food
- Avoid processed foods in favor of fresh lean meats, vegetables, fruit and dairy.
- Make healthy snack foods available in the refrigerator at your children’s eye level.
- Serve foods on kid-sized plates. Discourage them from eating from bags of snacks and treats.
- Cook healthy meals at home, including breakfast each day.
- Limit juice to four ounces or less per day, and avoid sodas and energy drinks.
Focus on Activity
- Encourage your children to have at least one hour of physical activity per day through sports, visits to parks and playgrounds, walks, bike riding, and active play.
- Limit screen time to two hours per day, making allowance for older children’s on-screen homework requirements.
- Ensure your children receive a good night’s sleep. Establish a set pre-bed routine and remove TVs, mobile devices and computers from the bedroom.
Focus on Setting a Positive Example
- Adopt the healthy habits you want your children to practice: portion control, healthy eating and snacking, less TV time, more physical activity.
- Offer positive feedback to your children when you see them become more active, pick up their toys, make healthier food choices.
- Make obesity prevention a family affair!