The commonly sited stat that one-in-three U.S. children are overweight is striking. In the last 30 years, children being overweight has doubled, and adolescents being obese has tripled. This should get your attention whether your children are heavy or not. There is a strong likelihood that overweight children will be overweight adults. These numbers represent a huge impact to our future economy and to the future of healthcare costs.
The answers given by the experts seem simple. Less screentime, healthier food choices and more exercise. That’s it.
Less Screentime: Decide your limits and stick with them.
- Zero to Three recommends no screentime for children two years old and younger, a half-hour a day as a maximum for children two to three years old and an hour a day as a maximum for older children.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no screentime for children two years old and younger and two hours a day as a maximum for older children.
- This screentime includes tablets, phones, computers and TVs.
- Related to obesity, many of the advertisements during children’s programming is for sugary foods and fast foods.
- Screentime tends to be a sedentary activity.
Healthier Food Choices: Learn and teach your children about healthy choices and healthy portions.
- Encourage fruits and vegetables.
- Encourage children to eat a wide range of healthy foods.
- Think healthy fats, whole grains, lean meats.
- Teach your children about foods, explore tastes and textures.
- Encourage them to shop and prepare foods with you.
More Exercise: Get your family moving more!
- The Center for Disease Control suggests children and adolescents should have 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
- This should include aerobic activity, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening activities.
- Make it fun.
- Get moving with them!