An “in-your-face” ad campaign was recently released by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their fight against childhood obesity. Many people objected to these ads which featured a picture of an obese child with taglines like: “it’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not” or “my fat may be funny to you but it’s killing me.”
Though controversial, is the campaign that far from the truth? Childhood obesity has become an epidemic that needs to be taken seriously. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.5 million American children (between 2 and 19) are obese. Genetics, behavioral habits, and the child’s living environment are contributing factors.
Childhood obesity can increase your child’s chance of developing childhood diabetes, high cholesterol, sleeping problems, and low self-esteem. When these children grow up they’ll be more at risk of having a stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, kidney failure, and type-2 diabetes. The extra weight can also contribute to higher medical costs than their healthier friends (almost $1,500 extra per year).
Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity
Listed below are some tips to give your kids a happier present and a healthier future.
- Lead the way. You’re the key to your children’s health. So forget that breakfast donut and dust off those old lifting weights. If you show them that being healthy can be fun for everyone, they’ll want to join in too.
- Substitute. Instead of taking away their favorite but unhealthy meals find a way to make it healthier. For instance, instead of fried chicken consider oven-baked chicken with cornflakes for a crunchy substitute.
- Packed lunches. Are all your strides for healthier meals ruined by your children’s fatty school lunches? If so, pack them a healthy lunch from home instead.
- Moderation. You don’t have to deny your kids their favorite treats like candy or soda. Offer them in moderation and over time they’ll hardly miss them.
- Make it a family affair. Play in the park. Play kickball in the backyard. Ride bikes in the neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as everyone joins in.