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Childhood Obesity: Is Your Child at Risk?

Ask any of my overweight, or obese, patients and they will tell you I do not shame you for being that way. Is it a problem? Definitely, yes! Should you work on it? Yes! But you should not be ridiculed by family, friends, and doctors for being too heavy. However, if you are doing this to your children, we need to rethink things because they may not have a choice.

How many times did you give in and let your little ones have a piece of candy when they cried for it? Did you know that is a learned behavior? Children are smarter than you give them credit for. If they like candy and they know they get it if they cry, why not cry? It's an easy way to get a tasty sweat snack. At the same time you are not helping them with disciplinary issues, you are also adding to childhood obesity problems.

Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years. In a single generation Americans have managed to condemn our youth to the struggles involved with a magnitude of health issues. You can say "I don't have that problem, so my child won't." You'd be lying to yourself. Many health issues are independent of parental genetic makeup. Particularly those related to obesity.

Think of your children! Starting when they are infants it is parents' prerogative to choose what your children eat, the habits they form, and the way they act. If you don't care about what they are going to be like as an adult, you shouldn't have children. A very bold statement, but I will stand by that. So, if you care about children I am going to give you five tips to help them lose weight starting as an infant.

1, Don't reward bad behavior. Children act out all the time, just ask my 2-year-old. They cry because they don't know how to cope with sadness or anger in the same way as most adults. If you give in to this behavior by giving them the toy, the show they want, or worst of all, the goodies they wanted. Definitely don't try and bribe them with goodies and candy. Sweats are highly fattening with next-to-no nutritional value. Don't give in. You can do it. They will cry a little longer, but you can distract them with a healthier option.

2. Monkey see monkey do. Children will model themselves after their parents and other close figures significantly. If they see mom and dad eating junk foods that is what they will want. So, this means setting aside the potato chips and eating celery, carrots, squash, dates, raisins, and other healthier options instead. If you like it and don't have other alternative treats then they will like it too.

3. Say no! It is okay to tell children "No." If they want fast food, let them know why they can't have it. It is an opportunity to educate them at any age. Go home and cook something similarly fun and make it healthier.

4. Be active. Again they watch you... a lot! If all you want to do at the end of the day is watch t.v. and do nothing, then what do you think they'll want to do. Engage them in something both of you enjoy. Go for a walk, play in the yard, do arts and crafts. Help them burn off the excess energy that kids have. If you've ever thought your kid was too hyper, take a look at how much they do in a day. Do you think it's enough? Their bodies are designed to work fast, grow and learn. If they are not engaging their brain as well as being physically active then they will be "hyperactive." Now, introduce television and video games into their life and you get a recipe for disaster. While programs can be educational, you should still try to limit the amount of time with electronics to 1-2 hours per day. Make sure they get out and play or exercise for at least 1 hour a day.

5. Eat healthy! That should be obvious, but it's not always easy. Avoid things in boxes that come with lots of salts, preservatives and other empty calories that typically store easily as fat. If you or your children are less active, eat less. Carbohydrates (like breads, noodles, grains) store easily as fat, so make sure you are active enough to burn them off or eat less of them. You almost can't enough enough vegetables and fruits, but make sure you are getting a variety of color and kind.

Now, their is much more to this that what I have gone over, but in a nutshell these tips will help. If you would like to go into more detail you can contact the clinic for a FREE consultation. Otherwise, stay healthy and have fun.

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