Help Your Kids Get Fit
About one-third of all U.S. children are overweight. Why is that? Fewer kids were overweight in the past. But kids are less active now than they used to be. They spend more time in front of the TV and the computer. Also, parents have less time to plan and make healthy meals. All this makes kids (and adults) gain weight.
Overweight kids are at risk for problems. They might get heart disease, diabetes, asthma or sleep problems. They might be teased about their weight. This makes them feel bad about themselves. If your child feels bad, he or she might have trouble making friends or doing well in school.
How can you help your child? First, get active. Your child needs an hour of activity daily. Get fit as a family. If you are active, your child will be, too. Try walking or biking. Play games with your child, like tag and jumping rope. Choose something that your child will like.
Second, limit the time your child spends on TV, video games and computers. This is called “screen time.” Children age two and younger should have no screen time. Older children should have two hours or less of screen time daily. More screen time means a greater risk for weight problems in your child.
Third, eat healthy meals. Serve fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Plan and eat meals together. (Check out some healthy recipes at www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov). Make sure your child eats breakfast. Then he or she is less likely to eat unhealthy snacks later. Don’t let kids eat in front of the TV.
Don’t put your child on a diet, unless your doctor says it’s okay. Kids need to eat enough so they can grow. Instead, give them less fruit juice and soft drinks. And try to cut back on sweets, fried food and fast food.
Need Expert Help?
The Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center (DNEC) at Gwinnett Medical Center, is Atlanta’s premier resource to meet your diabetes, nutrition and health needs. We are committed to delivering high quality education.
Committed to excellence, our staff is a professional team of nurses and registered dietitians, many specially trained and certified in diabetes education and weight management.
To help kids gain a healthy start to life, DNEC offers a nutrition class for parents incorporating healthy behaviors in a fun, interactive format. For more information about the class, call 678-312-6040.