Childhood obesity is an increasing concern in Australia. Follow our advice for a happy, healthy family.
Obesity is killing us. Studies and experts regularly tell us Australia is in the grip of an obesity epidemic which has spread to our kids.
With 25 per cent of Australian children now overweight or obese, how can parents keep their progeny healthy and active?
Obesity Prevention Australia is passionate about making every Australian household a healthy one. Its CEO Levi Waltz has this advice for all parents:
1. Leading by example
If you want to improve your children's health, check you own health first. Look at your habits and how they are educating your kids. Make sure you eat all your vegetables and tell your kids about how great you feel and how good it tastes. This information will slowly have an effect over the years.
2. Acknowledge you control what food is in the house
You have a direct impact on the food your children eat (especially early on). Are the soft drinks and chips in the house for the kids or for you? Or are they there to give the kids a treat because you feel you may have neglected them in another way? By becoming aware of why you are doing what you do, you can start to create solutions to the actions you are taking.
3. Start healthy habits early in your kids' lives
If you have been feeding your children high amounts of "sometimes" food for 12 years and then you cut it out or try to change their habits, you will find it much more difficult than if you started to focus on developing healthy habits when they were little.
4. Eat as a family as often as possible
A recent US study found that children and teens who share meals with their families at least three times a week were less likely to be overweight, eat unhealthy foods or be at risk of eating disorders.
5. Turn the TV off during all meal times
Consistently eating in front of the TV develops many unhealthy habits that can be very difficult to break when you get older. For example, if your child usually eats dessert in front of TV, their mind associates TV with a food reward. Once this cue is created, every time they sit down to watch TV, their mind will prompt them to eat.
6. Work with your child about food
Give them healthy foods to choose from. By giving them a choice, you show understanding, compassion and respect for their likes. They will be much more inclined to try new things if they know they are not being forced.
7 Positively reinforce healthy eating habits
Kids love to be encouraged, supported and told how well they are doing. Telling them they're "not leaving the table until you eat your veggies" or offering a sweet reward for eating healthy food, are bad habits to get into.
"Obesity is killing us. Studies and experts regularly tell us Australia is in the grip of an obesity epidemic which has spread to our kids"
Types of Holidays for Children
There are plenty of alternatives to the traditional family beach holiday - such as cruise holidays or city breaks. However, make sure that there will be plenty of things that will keep your young children entertained!
Carefully Choose your Holiday Resort
Be sure to choose a kid-friendly resort, this will make a huge difference on whether or not your children will have a good time. Look out for holiday resorts that have facilities such as babysitting and kids-only pools that will help make your family holiday as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
Inquire about Kids Entertainment
Make sure that there will be a wide range of activities wherever it is you stay, in particular for young children. The majority of holiday resorts provide daily activities that help give you time to relax. The location and its' surroundings are also very important - young children absolutely love aquariums, zoos and theme parks etc.
Make Your Children Work for You
Having young children can often help you to save money on your holiday, so make the most of it! Look out for deals such as 'kids travel free' holiday packages and other money-saving offers available.
Keep the Kids Happy
While this is easier said than done, there are many tips that will help to keep the kids happy. Get your children excited about the holiday, show them where it is your going and what destinations/landmarks you'll be visiting. Try to stick as much to their daily routine as possible, as disruptions can easily agitate children. This can also be avoided by taking their favourite toy, so that they don't feel as distant from home. Cameras are a great source of entertainment as most kids love taking photos. Disposable cameras are ideal, because they are inexpensive and are available your local grocery store etc.
_ KindyNews is a fun and interesting news publication for parents of kids aged seven and under. It is also the place to go for all your eco friendly baby product needs!