It is a sad reality that about one-third of children in the US are obese and likely face a difficult future growing up. Therefore, as a website that promotes healthy families and soccer, I want to write about how to prevent obesity in children with healthy food and sports as a solution.
I am going to use the term overweight instead because obesity comes with a lot of stigmatization.
It’s hard to rightly point out that your kid is overweight because they are naturally chubby.
Actually, it’s a sign that your child is healthy and growing fast, right?
Overweight is when your child has grown too much fat beyond his or her height and age and only a doctor can determine whether your child is obese or not by using the body mass index (BMI).
It’s important that you consult your doctor regarding your concerns so that you are given an expert diagnosis.
Identifying your child’s condition early is better so that you can address the issue as advised by your doctor.
When your child grows up he or she will adapt to the healthy habits you’ve already put in place.
That way your child does not feel the sudden change in diet or activities.
In the long run, your strategy will work without hardship for everyone.
Child Overweight In The US
To put this into perspective let’s look at the statistics for children between 2 to 19 years of age:
- The prevalence of overweight was 18.5%
- Affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents.
- 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds,
- 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds,
- 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds.
It is found that children who are overweight can carry the condition into adulthood.
At this stage, it can be difficult to reverse and surgery can be the only alternative.
Dangers Of Being Overweight
Children who are overweight suffer a lot from discrimination and stigmatization from other kids at school, relatives, or neighbors.
These experiences are what we parents never wanted our kids to go through.
Here is a list of effects on our kids:
- Low self-esteem
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Skin conditions
- Bone problems
- Joint problems
Causes Of Overweight
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- The deadly combination of all three factors
One cause of overweight is genetic where the trait is passed from parents to the child. It simply means the child is born with the condition.
However, there are some studies that show that it’s not always the case. Some families that are not watching their eating habits can also cause their children to develop overweight.
Not necessarily due to genetic reasons.
Having said that it also includes families that are inactive like watching too much TV or allowing kids to play too many video games.
On average a child spends 4 hours watching TV and playing video games.
2. Poor Diet
Secondly, being overweight is caused by poor eating habits.
There are a lot of factors causing this, such as peer pressure at school, family eating habits, and community pressures.
The availability of vending machines and promotions of junk food as healthy can mislead children and parents into buying these unhealthy foods.
It is found that even schools serve unhealthy food to children and that makes it hard for parents to control their kid’s diet.
Also, the busy schedules of working parents can be blamed because they have less time to cook and shop for fruits and vegetables.
Understandably, healthy diets can be expensive to maintain as well but the cheapest and healthy alternative is to cook at home.
Here are some tips for healthy eating habits:
- Serve more fruits and vegetables
- Eat breakfast every day
- Drink less soft drinks
- Eat less high fat and calorie foods
- Eat less fast food
3. Lack Of Exercise
Thirdly it is caused by a lack of exercise by the child, or should I say by the whole family.
The simple math is when your kid eats high-calorie foods the body uses it as fuel or energy, but only as much as the body needs it.
If the kid does not need a lot of fuel due to inactivity, the remaining energy becomes stored fat. When the stored fat builds up over time, your child will eventually become overweight.
4. Deadly Combination Of All Three Factors
Another possible cause is the combination of all three factors mentioned above. There is a correlation that kids who have bad eating habits do not exercise enough as well.
Although it is rare, being overweight can be caused by medical conditions.
How To Support Overweight Child
- Family participation
- Less time on TV
- Involve kids in food preparation
Note: It’s important you get advice from your doctor before implementing any changes to diet and activity.
1. Family Participation
The rest of the family is required to participate as well in order to motivate your kid.
Besides, your whole family will also enjoy the benefits of a good diet and exercise.
As parents, you must lead by example and do so with fun and plan activities such as walking and swimming.
Taking into account your child’s comfort to avoid embarrassing him or her, you must exclude activities that are difficult to do.
The more comfortable your child is the more participation you will expect.
2. Less Time On TV
It also reduces family time on TV and video games and introduces fun activities instead.
Organize activities such as tidying their own rooms and beds, and putting away toys.
3. Involve Kids In Food Preparation
Involve your kids in shopping for fruits and veggies, taking part in food preparation in the kitchen, and cooking it.
Your kids will be keen to eat them if they participate in all the processes.
How To Prevent Overweight
If you are concerned or totally taking a proactive step to stop your kid from being overweight then I commend you for doing your child a favor.
During my research for this post, two preventative actions keep popping up.
Starting a healthy diet habit and introducing regular exercise.
While we cannot control the genetic factor in causing overweight, we can definitely change our diet and introduce regular exercise.
Playing Soccer Can Help!
Kids’ soccer is a healthy option that promotes healthy eating, exercise, fun, and a lot of positive effects that go beyond soccer itself.
Soccer requires kids to eat a balanced diet full of carbohydrates for energy and protein for growth because the kid needs to be strong and healthy in order to play.
There is no need to sign up for your kid to a soccer school straight away.
A simple kickback and forth is an excellent start and by doing this consistently 2 things will happen.
Your child will develop kicking skills and becomes confident with the ball and the stored fats will slowly burn as fuel.
The less fat being stored the less your kid is at risk of being overweight.
By eating smart and exercising your kid will develop:
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Strong bones and muscles
- Improved mental fitness
- Improved social skills
- High self-esteem
- And a positive outlook on his or her life.
One thing is for sure, your child will thank you later for providing the right path to a healthy lifestyle that he or she will enjoy for the rest of his or her life.
Eat well, play hard, and lose fat.
Are you new to kids’ soccer and wanted to learn more?
Below are links to my other posts that will give you a headstart.
Please leave a comment below so I know your thoughts on this post.
Sources: Wikipedia | CDC.gov | Medlineplus.gov |