As we continue to recognize National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month this September, you may be wondering what you as an individual can do to promote better health within your own family.
While more than 30 percent of children are affected by childhood obesity, there is some promising news: Parents and families have a unique role in the physical and emotional development of children, which means that YOU can help set the stage for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle for your family!
Leading as Family Role Models to Address/Prevent Childhood Obesity
Discussing the topic of weight and health is never easy, but it’s especially difficult to have this conversation with a child. At such young ages, most children do not comprehend the physical and emotional conditions associated with overweight and obesity.
Instead, try shifting focus away from weight and onto the universal importance of living a healthy lifestyle. As a parent or other kind of role model in a child’s life, there are plenty of ways for you to engage with your family and promote healthy living!
Shop For Food Together
Sit down with your children and talk about the importance of nutritious, healthy foods. Then, work together to compile a grocery list of the healthy foods your family enjoys. When you go to the store, bring your children along with you and have them identify the items on the list. If you are shopping without a list, encourage them to walk the perimeter of the store and select various healthy food choices to add to your cart.
Prepare Meals as a Team
Although convenient, eating out doesn’t offer the same kind of health benefits as staying in and cooking at home. Therefore, knowing how to prepare and cook healthy foods is an essential life and weight management skill! Allow your kids to help you as you prep for mealtime. Perhaps they can help you season the food, chop produce with child-safe knives, set the table, stir whatever is cooking on the stove and arrange food items on the oven tray. Be creative and let them explore their newly-learned skills!
Go on a family walk after dinner, take a group bike ride or play a game of Frisbee in the backyard. You might even consider taking your family out for group sports such as bowling, Golf and fishing. Remember to emphasize the importance of regular activity in order for your children to feel their best!
Emphasize Regular Health Checkups
Many children are intimidated by doctors and afraid to go to health checkups. So long as you have a respectful and understanding pediatrician, reiterate to your children that doctors are good people who are on their side and want them to live the healthiest, happiest life possible! Routine medical checkups are necessary to make that happen.
Communicate Regularly about Each Other’s Lives
Establishing an open line of communication within your family is important for emotional development. By communicating regularly with your children in an open-minded, understanding fashion, you are letting them know it’s safe to talk to you.
For more information on ways about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, please CLICK HERE.