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Food tastes great and makes you feel good. Adults know that they need to moderate their portions and not eat too much or else they are going to gain weight, which can make their lives harder because it makes it more difficult to move around. Kids are not as aware of this and are therefore more likely to eat too much and find themselves overweight or obese at an early age. Here are some tips for preventing childhood obesity and helping your child develop healthy habits that he or she can take with him or her into adulthood.
1. Don't Ban Unhealthy Snacks
The first thing that you need to do is avoid banning unhealthy snacks. The reason for this is that it causes your child to go nuts with them when he or she is at a friend's house or when he or she moves out on his or her own. By banning unhealthy snacks from your home, you are essentially making it impossible for your child to learn how to resist temptation by satisfying that temptation every so often and making healthy choices most of the time. Allow your children to eat dessert so that they can see what a normal portion of dessert looks like. Have chips in the house but only let your child have one or two servings a week so that he or she learns how to decide when and where he or she can eat junk food. This will help your child manage his or her relationship to food.
2. Make Exercise Fun
Encourage your children to do some sort of physical activity, but let your child choose what it is. If your child hates team sports, don't force him or her to play them because then he or she is just going to associate exercise with something that makes him or her feel bored or embarrassed. Consider taking your child to the gym with you and showing him or her how to use the weight machines. Do more outdoor activities with your kids during the summer and let them go ice skating or go trampolining during the winter. Build exercise into your family's life.
3. Be Healthy Yourself
Be a healthy role model and show your children what it looks like to have a healthy relationship with both food and exercise. This will make them much more likely to be successful in this endeavor when they are adults.
For more information, talk to your child's pediatrician at a place like Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP.