As we all know, obesity isn’t just a grown-up problem. One-third of U.S. children and teens are overweight or obese. It goes without saying that their likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes is on the rise.
We know the problem, but do we know a solution? What can a typical parent do to prevent their child from joining the other one-third?
Cindy Cunningham, a nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has a few tips that can help a child stay healthy.
First and foremost is to start a babies’ life off right by helping them avoid weight issues to begin with.
Other tips to consider:
— Keep portions small and allow children to get a second helping if they’re still hungry.
— Keep the healthy food and snack options, such as fruit, stocked in the kitchen.
— Don’t give up on offering healthy foods, as it might take several tries before a child will accept.
— Use low-calorie substitutes when cooking meals, such as low-fat cheese and nonfat milk.
— Encourage children to get exercise through physical activity.
If obesity runs in your family, don’t lose hope. One last bit of positivity: Even people with a genetic tendency to be overweight can avoid excessive weight gain with good nutrition and exercise. The option to lead a happy and healthy life is always there, despite your predisposition to gain weight. Remember this!