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Childhood Obesity Advice

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Childhood obesity is a major problem and can cause many issues along the road. Some people admire chubby children, but the cuteness does not take away the potential health risks such as asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol and low self-esteem. So what can parents do to fight child obesity in their home?

  • Get the whole family involved: It’s a lot harder to change when you’re the only one doing it. If you want your children to be healthy, everyone in the family should be on the journey together. Everyone should eat the same meals, and there should be schedule family exercise time. A family that plays together stays together.
  • Cook healthy: It’s sometimes so much easier to grab fast food on the way home from picking your children up from school instead of cooking dinner. However, it’s best that your child receives a balanced meal with proper vitamins and nutrients. There are a lot of family friendly recipes that are delicious and quick to make available online and in different cookbooks. If it’s too much to cook every day, you may want to try cooking meals in batches and freezing in bulk so that you have an array of meals to choose from on a regular basis that just require heating and serving.
  • Encourage exercise: Children don’t go outside like they used to! With so many electronics readily available and the amount of media on, they prefer to stay indoors on beautiful days. Encourage your kids to go outside and play to get their blood pumping and get some quality exercise. You can even find youth activities and sports for them to join so that they have others to play with and a regular time to be outside and moving.
  • Change the diet: Kids love pizza, soda, chips, juice, and other junk food. Be sure that in their diet, they’re having more fruits and vegetables and less processed sugars and fried foods. There should be at least 1 serving of a fruit or vegetable in every meal, and they can even be incorporated as snacks. There is no nutritional value in cookies or chips, but there’s plenty of health benefits in carrots and apples.
  • Pack healthy lunches: Most schools have hot lunches available for the students, but sometimes even their nutritional value can be questionable. To ensure your child is getting the right foods, pack their lunch for them to take to school. You can pack a tasty sandwich, a few healthy side snacks, and a beverage to fuel your child for the rest of the school day.
  • Read food labels: There are some things you may think are healthy that actually aren’t that are in your pantry today. Learn to read food labels properly. See how many calories are in each serving size, then determine how many servings are in the package. Avoid things with trans fat, high sodium, and questionable ingredients that you can’t pronounce. If the first ingredient listed is sugar or high fructose corn syrup, you should reconsider the purchase.
  • Be a role model: Your child looks up to you, so it’s up to you to set the standard. If you have some weight to lose, an additional motivation can be your child seeing a prime example of health. Show them how important nutrition and fitness is to living, and they will soon following in your footsteps.
  • Work with your pediatrician: Your pediatrician has a variety of resources to help you battle childhood obesity. They can refer you and your child to a Dietician, special health classes, and monitor your child’s weight to make sure they’re in a healthy range.

Childhood obesity is preventable as long as parents stay determined to keep it away. With good health habits, your child will remain happy and healthy.

Our office has an experienced nutritionist who not only collaborates with our endocrinologist but is also available to our general pediatrics patients.

Please visit the following websites for further information about healthy eating:

American Heart Association:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Cooking-for-Lower-Cholesterol_UCM_305630_Article.jsp

Healthy Children:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/the-very-hungry-caterpillar/Pages/default.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

Since my kids were born (they are 8 yrs old),we have never had anyone give us as much help or time as Dr. Ahdoot has given us. She is the kind of doctor who takes a personal interest in each patient. She was always available and made sure my kids were well taken care of... read more read more

Dr. Dafna Ahdoot has recently joined the Practice at Tarzana Pediatric Medical Group and I'm so glad she is there. She has been helping with my two kids who have reactive airway disease and communicating with me by phone and email. I feel taken care of... read more read more