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How to Help My Obese Child – Family Activities to Reverse Child Obesity
Millions of children today suffer from obesity in the United States. This is not an epidemic caused by a virus or bacteria. There is no vaccine or medicine that can cure it. But it is a serious health problem costing families on average thousands of dollars in added medical expenses each year. That’s not talking about the shortened life expectancy, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases directly related to obesity. This is an epidemic caused only by a huge change in our diet and lifestyle in the last century. Our poor diets have been accompanied by an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. This is something that is not out of your control. There are family activities that can help reverse childhood obesity. What is needed is the determination and commitment to act.
Our bodies are well adapted moving machines. We were designed to be in motion. Before the computer video game age children would be more active in their play. True, television time had to be limited, but this was not as big a problem as we see today. The habits children learn will be with them well into adulthood.
• Activity doesn’t need to be time spent in a gym lifting weights or jogging on a treadmill. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s just hard to convince your child that it’s fun. If you want your child to start burning those calories, don’t make exercise time a chore – it should be fun. In fact, stay away from the word exercise.
• Try different things and see what your child takes to and likes. Play a game of tag or hide and seek. Go to the playground and climb the monkey bars. Go for bike rides or nature walks. Get your child involved in activities that interest you as you will be more motivated to join.
• Whenever possible, try to take the activity outside. Not only will this get you away from your TV or computer, but it will also get you some much-needed sunshine and vitamin D. Make being active outdoors something your child looks forward to and enjoys.
• When starting an exercise program, don’t overdo it. Try it for a short time and see how it goes. Continue to extend the time little by little. Don’t do this instead of the video games but in addition to them. You want your child to want to have fun being active, not something that is forced on them and seen as a chore. You want to develop this active playtime into a regular activity.
• Water activities are great in summer or hot climates. Swimming, water polo, relay or water balloon games are all fun. Take a family trip to the pool, lake or beach. Teaching your child to swim at an early age will not only help keep them fit but will help prevent accidental drowning accidents.
• Put together a scavenger hunt or treasure that involves other children in the neighborhood. Having playtime with other children will also help your child develop important social skills as well as help keep off those unwanted pounds.
• Group sports activities are good but are not the only type of organized activity for your child. Maybe your child would be interested in dance or ice skating. Give your child a chance to see if they like it. Show support for whatever your child chooses.
You can win the battle against obesity in your child. It will take commitment on your part, but the rewards will be many. Not only will your child develop a healthy lifestyle, but you’ll have fun doing it.
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