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Superior Solutions to Beat Childhood Obesity

By Yahoo! Sports - January 26th, 2012

In the United States, up to 1 in every 5 kids is either overweight or obese. Sadly, the number of overweight children is increasing rather than decreasing. Children that are overweight are in danger of staying that way into adulthood, which increases their likelihood of getting long term illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. In addition, kids and adolescents that are heavier than average are more likely to become depressed, stressed and have low self esteem.

As parents, we want to stop childhood obesity before it happens and reverse the problem when it has already occurred. Follow these superior solutions to help prevent or reverse childhood obesity.

Increase physical activity in a fun manner

It is important to increase the amount of exercise your child is getting. When physical activity is fun, children will want to participate and be more likely to stick with it on a long-term basis. Try these fun physical activities to get your kids moving:

  • Indoor trampoline parks, such as Sky Zone
  • Bounce houses
  • Outdoor trampolines with nets
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Sports, such as basketball and baseball

Pay attention to food

  • Paying attention to food is of the utmost importance when wanting to raise kids who have a healthy weight. Follow these educational eating ideas to beat childhood obesity:
  • Children should be given foods that are healthy and should get 30 percent or less of their calories from fat.
  • Never reward the completion of meals with sugary, fattening desserts. Instead opt for healthy desserts, such as fresh fruit, sugar-free Jell-O and frozen sorbet. Fat free whipped cream can be added on all of these foods for an added touch. Cinnamon and Splenda can be sprinkled on fruit to give it a sweeter, desert-like taste.
  • Do not use food as a reward for good behavior.
  • Give your child smaller portion sizes.
  • Don’t force children to finish their entire meal.
  • Stay away from pre-packaged foods and those high in sugar and fat.
  • When kids turn 2-years-old, give them skim milk in place of whole milk. Even 1 or 2 percent milk is much healthier than whole milk for children ages 2 and up.
  • Provide children with plenty fiber rich foods. Kids may enjoy getting their fill from popcorn, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. Raspberries, pears and apples are full of fiber. When it comes to vegetables, cooked artichokes, cooked peas and boiled broccoli have the highest content. Still, the most superior source of fiber comes from cooked split peas, lentils and black beans.

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