September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and I’d like to share some statistics with you regarding the nation’s kids:
- 1 in 3 kids today is either obese or overweight.
- 1 in every 3 kids born after 2000 is expected to develop diabetes early in their life.
- Obesity related problems include (but not limited to): heart disease, asthma, diabetes, accelerated aging process, early onset puberty, high blood pressure, even cancer.
To me, this was both jaw dropping and heart breaking. Twisting the negative into a positive, it inspired me to write this blog. What can we as parents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or caregivers do to help? … Be GREAT ROLE MODELS! Kids look up to adults in how they speak, act, and yes even what they eat. Below are nutritional habits to lead by explain to help show kids how to become more holistically healthy. Maybe, together, we can celebrate Childhood Obesity Month by beginning to put an end to it!
1. Increase fruit and vegetable consumption. …Remember how I just said avoid munching on chips, while plating veggies on the little one’s tray? Exactly. It takes 15-20 times for a person to be exposed to something new before acceptance happens. If carrots aren’t well received raw, then try steaming, maybe roasting, or adding a fun name. Blend zucchini and applesauce into pancakes. Maybe even try positive comments when eating fruit and vegetables. I know it sounds crazy, but if you continue to show excitement over eating purple cabbage, then your kids might just want to try some too!
2. Increase real foods. … I don’t like to use words such as ‘avoid’, but I’m going to say it; avoid bringing highly processed food into the house. Chips aren’t nutrient dense, and if you feel guilty indulging, then kids definitely shouldn’t be eating them. Most highly processed foods is filled with trans fat, sugar, simple carbohydrates, and little to no protein or fiber. It might fill your child up, but it won’t give them the necessary nutrients they need to grow. If you were to never expose your child to white pasta, only whole grains, they wouldn’t know the difference. That also goes back to the last line above, show optimism when eating real foods.
3. Minimize liquid calories. … The best way I can suggest being a great role model with liquids is to carry a reusable water bottle. Kids will learn the importance of filling our bodies with hydrating water. Take back the tap, and take back the fight on childhood obesity. Kids are the next generation and will learn from our lead. Let’s all be amazing role models, not for the sake of our nutritional health, but the health of the future.