Within the last two decades, childhood obesity has grown into a major health crisis. Current statistics estimate that 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the U.S. is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for more serious health issues. A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop type II diabetes at some point in their lives, likely at an earlier age. Today’s teens could very well be the current faces of diabetes.
For Black children, this poses a greater issue because Blacks have twice the risk of developing type II diabetes. There are ways that parents can help to prevent and reverse childhood obesity and many of these techniques are simple. If your child’s health is at the forefront of your concerns, here are four simple ways to help your child maintain a healthy weight.
Monitor sugar intake.
Children love those colorful boxed sweets that have the faces of their favorite cartoon characters on them, but these treats are often loaded with sugar that can be harmful to their health. Sugar converts to fat that is hard to break down, thus leading to weight gain that can affect overall health.
It’s okay to give a child a treat every now and then, but choose snack options that contain natural sugar such as apples, melons or other sweet fruits.
Look for snacks that are derived from 100% real fruit and swap out the milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Sodas and juices also contain high amounts of sugar, so monitoring the intake of these things is important as well.
Increase physical activity.
Being active in a sport or an activity that encourages rapid movement is essential for keeping the body in shape and remaining healthy, and it is important for a child to get as much physical activity as possible.
With an absence of physical education programs in schools and with the increasing popularity of social media, more children are gaining weight that is hard to get off because of the lack of required physical activity.
A child typically doesn’t see the importance of being active when it comes to health, so there needs to be guidance set into place on behalf of the parent to get them moving.
Plan family days that have physical activity at their core to encourage the entire family to get involved in being physically fit. Family basketball games, water volleyball, or dance contests in the house are fun ways to get the body moving. Gyms often have