Disease Proof

Tips on Preventing Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a big deal—no pun intended—and arguably it’s an even bigger deal with children. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman points out obesity is the most common nutritional problem facing kids in the United States:
The number of children who are overweight in the United States has more than doubled during the past decade. Social forces, from the demise of cooking to the rise of fast food, as well as dramatic increases in snack food and soda consumption, have led to the most overweight population of children in human history. Added to this dietary disaster is television, computer, and video technology that entertains our youngsters while they are physically inactive. Unless parents take a proactive role in promoting and assuring adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle, you can be sure the children of American will continue this downward spiral into obesity and ill health. Obese children suffer physically and emotionally throughout childhood and then invariably suffer with adult heart disease, and a higher cancer incidence down the road.
As a result, there are a lot of “tips” out there promising to help parents avoid obesity with their own kids. Like these from the American Academy of Family Physicians. Diana Kohnle of HealthDay News reports:
  • Don't force him to eat when he isn't hungry -- he shouldn't have to clean his plate if he's already full.
  • Don't use food as a reward, or as a comfort when he's upset.
  • Feed your child a healthy, balanced diet -- one that includes fast food no more than once a week.
  • Limit your child's TV watching and encourage physical activity, like playing outside. Offer to play outside with your child.
  • Encourage your child to get regular exercise, so that he continues to exercise into adulthood.
All these make sense to me, but “one that includes fast food no more than once a week?” Yeah, I don’t know about that. How about no fast food? Why? Because it’s junk! Better yet, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Secrets to Getting Your Children to Eat Healthfully. Here’s a few:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.


2. Offer and feed a wholesome diversity of natural foods, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit, while giving each child as much latitude as possible to eat what they prefer.

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.
Of course if words are too intimidating, have listen to Dr. Fuhrman’s podcast on Getting Children to Eat Well.
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