By Gayla Oakley
One out of every four kids in Nebraska is overweight, and heavy kids often grow up to be heavy adults. This can lead to health problems such as diabetes, joint problems, asthma and heart disease.
Often, parents want to help their kids, but they don’t know where to start. Diet isn’t always the answer. Many factors can affect a child’s weight.
So here are 7 surprising tips to help your kids be at a healthy weight:
1. Limit screen time. School work often involves screen time, which is fine. But try to limit the amount of time your child plays video games or watches TV, the best you can.
2. Make sure your child gets at least 1 hour of physical activity each day. For younger kids, this could mean playing outside or recess. Older kids can walk on the treadmill, jump rope, roller blade, go for a bike ride, swim, walk the dog or do sports.
3. Encourage good sleep. Kids ages 6-12 years old need nine to twelve hours of sleep each night. Ages 13-18 need eight to ten hours. To make sure your child is getting enough sleep, think about when he or she gets up for school. Then count backward to find a good bedtime.
4. Teach portion control. No food is bad, but it’s helpful to eat less of the high calorie, low nutrient foods such as Ramen Noodles and Mac and Cheese. Check the package for serving sizes, but remember, for a child it will be a bit less.
5. Avoid pop, juice, and sports drinks. These all have a lot of sugar. Instead, drink plenty of water.
6. Eat in season. Healthy food sometimes costs a bit more. To help with this, choose fruits and veggies that are in season. For example, if blueberries are out of season and cost a lot, maybe choose apples.
7. Have regular checkups. Your child’s thyroid and blood sugars can affect their weight. Your primary care provider (PCP) can determine if there is a problem.
Even when you’re doing your best, it can be hard to get your child to a healthy weight. If these tips don’t help, give us a call at 402-395-3156.
We have a Balance Program that gets kids on the path to a healthy lifestyle. It’s designed for kids up to 18 years of age and offers well-rounded help in all areas that can impact a child’s weight.
The program is $75 and some insurance companies may cover the cost. If not, call for financial options.
This is the perfect time to help your child develop healthy habits, because what you do today can benefit your child for a lifetime.