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10 Tips to Preventing Childhood Obesity

During well child check ups, pediatrics doctors have noticed a troubling trend: an increase in the number of overweight and obese patients. Over the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has more than doubled. This is a huge problem as obesity not only has immediate effects on health and wellbeing, but also long term effects, such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In order to slow the growth of this trend, it is essential that parents promote healthy eating habits, giving their children the tools to make better food choices as opposed to allowing them to eat whatever they want. To help keep your child at a healthy weight, consider these 10 childhood obesity prevention tips from top pediatricians in Phoenix AZ:

  1. Serve Appropriate Portions. Our views on proper portion size are extremely distorted as restaurants continue to serve far more on a plate than is necessary to meet our nutritional and caloric needs. Start carefully reading all labels, and measure out your food to learn what a proper portion really is. Appropriate portion sizes for your child are an issue that you should consider discussing during well child check ups with North Valley pediatricians if you fear your child is becoming overweight or obese.
  2. Ban Clean Plate Rules. Many parents will not allow their children to leave the table until they have cleaned their plate. In the opinion of pediatrics doctors, this is generally not a good rule. Children have the ability to stop eating when they are full, so it is more important to focus on the types of foods you are providing than on forcing them to continue eating past their full point.
  3. Avoid Food Rewards. Try to avoid rewarding good behavior with treats, such as ice cream and cookies. While it is fine to have unhealthy sweets every once in a while, it is best that you keep them to a minimum rather than including them as part of a regular routine.
  4. Eat at the Table. Children tend to eat more when sitting in front of the TV or computer. For this reason, pediatrics doctors recommend that children always eat their meals at the table, away from electronics and other distractions.
  5. Switch to Water. While juice and soda may be delicious, both are filled with excessive sugar and calories, which may be harmful to your child’s health. To help your child avoid this extra calorie intake, pediatrics doctors encourage a switch to water.
  6. Slow Down. The brain takes time to register when the stomach is full, so it is important that parents encourage children to slow down while eating. This time allows the brain to catch up to the stomach, leading to a decrease in the amount of food eaten.
  7. Say No to Emotional Eating. When you notice your child has heightened emotions, such as happiness or sadness, make sure that they don’t turn to food. Instead, help them to find something else to do, such as a fun activity.
  8. Appetite vs Hunger. As parents, it is important to recognize the difference between appetite and hunger. Many children have very hearty appetites for tasty foods, especially sweets and other treats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are hungry. Pediatricians in Phoenix AZ recommend trying to stick to a meal schedule as opposed to offering your child food randomly throughout the day.
  9. Exercise. In addition to healthy eating, it is essential that you get your children up and moving. Instead of allowing them to turn into couch potatoes, pediatrics doctors advise that you plan fun family activities, such as walks, bike rides or playtime at the park.
  10. Be a Role Model. In order for children to catch on to healthy eating, pediatrics doctors recommend that parents also eat healthy as children tend to learn by example. The house should be stocked with ingredients for healthy meals as well as healthy snack foods.

Taking the above tips into consideration will help you to provide the best health for your child, reducing their risk of becoming overweight or obese.

To ensure that your child is growing up healthy, including maintaining a normal weight, it is essential that you visit with pediatrics doctors for regular well child checkups. At Pediatrix, our pediatricians in Phoenix AZ provide quality, full service well child check ups that are customized to the specific needs of your child. Our pediatrics doctors are up-to-date on all medical procedures and treatments as they pertain to children, and are confident in their abilities to provide your child with the very best healthcare in a warm, friendly environment. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced, knowledgeable pediatrics doctors, call Pediatrix at (602) 866-0550 or contact us online.

Posted in Blog on August 1st, 2014