We all want to give our kids the best start in life, we want them to be happy and to have good relationships and experiences during their school years. Unfortunately, unhealthy diets and a largely sedentary lifestyle are making more and more kids overweight or obese and this can directly impact their experiences at school.
Social effects of obesity
We all know by now (and have experienced!) that some kids can be downright cruel and if there is an obvious point of difference between your child and other children they are around, they can be an easy target for teasing or bullying.
A study in the American Academy of Pediatrics found that obese and overweight children were more likely to be the victims and committers of bullying behaviour compared to normal weight children. As a result, short and long term social and psychological development in these children were delayed.
Obesity can result in social and emotional problems for kids – who have already have enough on their plate just dealing with growing up. These problems can morph into mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety, poor body image and even eating disorders.
The social and emotional affects are concerning, but even more concerning are the direct negative physical health effects of obesity. Although these affects aren’t always seen in childhood, it is important to take action before they become serious health issues in adulthood.
Possible health problems for obese children in the future:
– Type 2 Diabetes
– Eating disorders
– Fatty liver disease
– Heart problems
– Respiratory disorders
– Sleep apnoea
– Dental problems
What can you do?
But it’s not all doom and gloom! The positive that you can take from all of this is that you can reverse obesity. You can take action now and build the foundation for a happier and healthier future for your children.
Here are 11 ways to get your kids on a lifetime of healthy eating:
1. Go for a rainbow – encourage different coloured fruits and veggies. Try to encourage two fruits and five veggies daily.
2. Set a good example – you can’t expect them to eat their greens if you’re tucking into less than healthy eats. Eat together as a family and you’re likely to encourage better social skills.
3. Eat regularly – breakfast, lunch and dinner are essentials. Punctuate main meals with healthy snacks and you’re likely to help keep your child’s energy levels and ability to focus high. Skipping meals is linked with unhealthy snacking, weight problems and problems with energy and learning.
4. Don’t ban the junk – what children don’t get may be what they crave. Allow some treats but make them treats and not part of the daily diet.
5. Watch the drinks – that contain sugar and acids which can erode the enamel on teeth. Encourage water or juices only with meals.
6. Don’t give up offering new tastes – kids are notoriously fussy. And if you try a food that’s rejected, try offering it again a few days or weeks later.
7. Get them involved – kids are more likely to try foods if they have taken part in preparing or cooking foods. It’s also a great way to teach valuable life skills right from the start and a love of fresh, healthy, delicious foods.
8. Go for gentle encouragement – trying to use force, rewards or punishments in a bid to encourage your children to eat vegetables or any other food won’t help. Instead, aim for gentle persuasion and active encouragement!
9. Limit screen time –TV, DVDs, computers, mobile phones, tablets and playing video games all mean less time being active.
10. Build activity into family life – go for walks or bike rides together as a family each day.
11. Encourage supplementation – with active lifestyles and growing bodies, children and adolescences need advanced levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to achieve and maintain optimal health. Try USANA’s specially formulated kids daily vitamin UsanimalsTM and teenage daily vitamin BodyRoxTM.
– Provides a balanced formula of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for children aged 2 to 12 years
– Supports immune health with Vitamins D and C, Selenium, Zinc
– Contains Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D that help with strong bones, muscles, joints and teeth
– Contains B group vitamins with Iron and Iodine which support energy production for an active lifestyle
– Contains Zinc and Iodine which nurture normal overall growth and development
– Easy-to-eat chewables with fun animal-shape prints
– Is free of artificial flavours and sweeteners
– Suitable for vegetarians.
Offer a Usanimals* tablet at the end of a meal – it contains fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and fat soluble vitamins can only be absorbed with food. It helps with the metabolism of omega-3s.
Body Rox** is a comprehensive and convenient formula of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for active teenagers.
– Provides everyday support for overall health, normal healthy immunity, and skin
– Is specifically formulated for teenagers
– Contains B group vitamins to support normal energy production and stamina
– Contains Calcium and Magnesium for healthy bones and teeth
– Contains Lutein to support healthy eyes
– Helps compensate for teens’ erratic eating habits
– Suitable for vegetarians.
Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.