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"
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