Fortunately, not all children who are heavy grow up to be overweight adults. However, studies indicate that an obese child has a greater chance of being an obese adult than children who are at a healthier weight. In fact, for every year that a child remains overweight, his or her risk of growing into an overweight adult increases. With the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States, parents should focus on encouraging a less sedentary lifestyle and healthier dietary habits. Start with these simple approaches:
- Curb screen time. Limit the time your child spends watching television, sitting at the computer, or playing video games.
- Set a good example. Studies have found that children are more likely to be physically active if their parents and siblings are active.
- Emphasize nutritious foods. Always have fruit and cut-up vegetables available for snacks and limit unhealthy snack foods.
- Eat meals together. Make healthy choices and limit serving sizes.
- Think about drinks. Cut back on canned fruit juices, sodas and whole milk to save calories.