Childhood obesity is often discussed in society because of its association with certain health-related risks. While there may be a genetic component to it, the problem often emerges due to a poor choice of lifestyle and eating habits. However, a combination of light workouts and healthy eating patterns can easily prevent the development of childhood obesity and related issues. This program introduces a simple plan, which can help children maintain a healthier lifestyle through a system of daily habits.
For example, children often enjoy playing on their computers and mobile phones. Doing a quick exercise after twenty minutes of playing is feasible in most circumstances. However, children should not feel forced to do physical activities, and it is better to help them find motivation through discussions instead. Parents should serve as positive role models, lowering the consumption of high-calorie food and exercising. This way, physical activity will improve the effect of good eating habits and help the child build a strong, healthy body, which will be beneficial in adulthood.
Why Is Childhood Obesity Prevention Important?
People around the world enjoy fast food and soft drinks, and, naturally, children feel the desire to taste them, as well. While there is nothing inherently bad about such food, it is the amount of its consumption that becomes a reason for concern. According to Li et al. (2020), over 50% of young adolescents eat fast food at least once a week. Combined with a lack of exercise, such eating habits lead to serious health-related consequences from a young age. Children quickly gain weight, developing obesity, which can be particularly detrimental during the period when one’s body is being formed. In fact, early-life obesity can be a major factor leading to severe cardiovascular conditions during later stages of life (Umer et al., 2017). Childhood is a crucial period during which both one’s body and mentality are shaped. Therefore, adopting good habits at a young age can prevent a multitude of problems through simple, everyday actions
What Can Be Done to Prevent Childhood Obesity?
First of all, one must identify the factors enabling the development of childhood obesity. Indeed, fast food is one of them, as its consumption has significantly grown because of today’s rapid lifestyle. Adults may justify such eating habits by having little time, and children can be expected to mimic their parents. In order to make the first step toward a healthier future, one must find the motivation and a role model to follow. However, it is not enough to stop consuming fast food and soft drinks, as regular physical activity is the second key component of childhood obesity prevention. It is through a combination of both factors that a child’s body becomes healthy and strong.
How to Eat Healthily?
Good eating habits can be formed, despite the appeasing image of fast food, which serves to make meals quick and convenient. In fact, time is not an excuse, as healthy food does not have to take a long time to be prepared.
One should begin by identifying their own instances of unhealthy eating and think of better replacements. For example, a high-calorie sandwich eaten at school is neither better nor more convenient than an apple. A fruit-and-vegetable salad is just as easy to make on a Sunday morning as fried bacon. Carbonated drinks contain a lot of sugar, as well, but it is easy to replace them with natural juice or still water. Healthy food does not have to be unappealing or expensive: there are many options on the market, and it is possible to find a replacement for any unhealthy meal on one’s menu.
As said previously, healthy eating habits must be complemented by physical activity in order to achieve better results. One does not have to be a professional athlete to run a few laps around one’s block or do a quick workout routine in the morning. Such exercises will not take much of one’s time because it is entirely possible to incorporate them into a child’s schedule.
Li, L., Sun, N., Zhang, L., Xu G., Liu, J., Hu, J., … Han, L. E. (2020). Fast-food consumption among young adolescents aged 12–15 years in 54 low- and middle-income countries. Global Health Action, 13(1), 1-9. Web.
Umer, A., Kelley, G. A., Cottrell, L. E., Giacobbi Jr, P., Innes, K. E., & Lilly, K. E. (2017). Childhood obesity and adult cardiovascular disease risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Public Health, 17, 1-24. Web.