5 Habits that May Contribute to Childhood Obesity

Health & Medical Blog

Childhood obesity has become more and more prevalent over the last two decades. Studies show that children who are overweight may develop serious health problems as they grow older. In addition to affecting a child's physical well-being, obesity may also affect his or her psychological health and self-esteem. Here are a few bad habits that could be contributing to weight gain in your child:

1. Snacking In Front of the TV

Does your little one like to enjoy a bag of chips while watching Saturday cartoons? Does your child reach for a chocolate bar while playing video games? If so, your child may be consuming excess calories and overeating without even realizing it.

It's difficult to control portions while engaged in TV viewing and video games. If your child must snack while watching television, a healthy piece of fruit is a good alternative to high-fat, sugary treats.

2. Playing Computer and Video Games for Hours on End

The more hours your child spends playing video games, the less likely he or she will be inclined to exercise. Lack of physical activity is a major contributor to obesity. Prevent your child from becoming a junior couch potato by encouraging physical activity. Your child is more inclined to be motivated if it's a joint effort. Make it a family routine and exercise together.

3. Having a Sugary Soda With Meals

This is one habit you don't want your child to form. By eliminating one sugary soft drink a day, your child will cut calories and cut the risk of developing obesity down the road. Did you know that one 12 ounce can of cola contains about 140 calories? Your child would have to walk about 45 minutes to burn those calories off.

4. Choosing Fast Food

Convenience foods can be very tempting when time is of the essence. Many working parents don't have a lot of time to prepare healthy lunches ahead of time. Vending machine snacks and foods high in saturated fats may be a convenient option, but it may also be contributing to weight gain in your child.

Rather than giving your child the option of grabbing the lunch of his or her choice, prepare a healthy meal the night before. Fresh fruit should replace cakes and chips. Bottled water is a low-calorie alternative to sugary juice box drinks. Fat-free macaroni and cheese with broccoli is a smart alternative to spaghetti and meatballs.

5. Skipping Breakfast

You should never allow your child to skip breakfast. Studies show that children who skip breakfast are more likely to overindulge during the course of the day. This often leads to weight gain. Provide your child with a nutritious breakfast each and every day, and make this one good habit for life.

Start Early on the Road to Good Health

Remember that good eating habits and lifestyle choices should begin early on. Once your child develops poor habits, it becomes increasingly difficult to break them later on. Talk to family practices such as Expresscare Plus to learn more about how you can encourage your children to live a healthier lifestyle.


15 October 2014