The World Health Organization calls childhood obesity “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century”. Worldwide, an estimated 42 million children under age five are overweight. In the United States alone, one-third of children and adolescents — about 25 million — are overweight or obese.
The good news is that childhood obesity is both preventable and reversible. Here are some suggestions to keep your child in optimal health and put the brakes on the obesity epidemic.
Choose Drinks Carefully. Offer your child healthy alternative to sugary drinks, such as water, milk and iced herbal tea with no more than a touch of honey.
Limit Exposure to Marketing. Much of the commercial success of processed foods is due to billions spent on marketing designed to entice children and adolescents.
Make Whole Foods a Family Affair. Kids who see their parents enjoy fruits and vegetables are likely to do the same.
Make Whole Foods Fun. Let your child choose a new vegetable to try at dinner or a fruit for the week’s snacks.
Tend a Family Garden. Children who get hands-on experience planting, maintaining and harvesting fruits and vegetables eat more of them.