Unfortunately, this isn’t a new epidemic, but it has gotten much worse. German researches in the 1920s in the United States were shocked at how fat US children were and have written about it extensively and researched various ways to see if we can help them lose weight.
It is estimated that 20% of children are overweight or obese. Our children are becoming mere copies of ourselves. Obesity is starting sooner and sooner and we are detecting diabetes and other diseases at a younger age. Entire books have been written on this topic alone, and we will touch on it briefly.
The problem with children and weight loss, is that you don’t want to tell children that they are “fat”. You want them to know that they are unhealthy, making poor choices, they need to become more active and lose weight… but you don’t want it to become an image thing. They already have enough peers at school calling them “fat boy” and “big girl”. Walking this fine line is a daunting task.
The hardest part of this is realizing that it is genetic. And we can’t change our genes, but we sure can change what we eat to trick our genetics into losing weight. But telling Johnny that he can’t eat cake, cookies, donuts any more is a daunting task. But it is doable. We have seen incredible results with the proper training and reward system. You have to train your kids to “want” to be healthy, which will take time.
Starts at home
It all starts with the adults. Kids inherit bad eating habits, in addition to obesity genes. The adults in the household should always cook and or bring home good wholesome meals. There is no reason to stop by McDonald’s on the way home and pick up fast food for dinner. (Although they now have salads and fruit)
If mom and dad are eating poorly, so will the kids. Follow the C3 Diet guidelines and make healthy choices. This starts as young as when children are 2 years old. They know what they like and can start requesting foods.
Get it out of the house
Don’t want your kids to eat chips? Get them out of the house. No junk food in the house. Don’t buy it. Don’t make it. Don’t even introduce it to them. Kids will eventually eat the healthy alternative. No kid will starve to death.
Reward good choices
When kids choose apple slices over fries, reward them with positive reinforcement. This always works. Kids will compete with each other to see who can make the healthiest choices.
Kids aren’t dumb. We find this out more and more every day. Talk to your kids about why healthy foods are better than bad ones. Discuss heart disease, vegetables, fruits, and why they are power foods. Kids will make better choices when they are equipped with better information. Have a family sit-down session and discuss various family foods and why they may or may not be good choices. Your kids may end up helping you avoid poor food choices.
Set an example
Nothing is more deflating than watching the leader not follow the rules. Kids love their parents, and love doing what their parents do. Set a good example at all times. If you order fries, but have them order apple slices, you are destroying the new paradigm from the inside out. When they go out alone, they will order fries. Set a good example at all times, don’t create a double standard. Healthy is healthy at any age.
Take it to the schools
Go to your school boards and make a difference. There is no reason that pizza, burgers, and fries are the only food choices. Make sure that healthy alternatives are available and that your kids will only eat those foods. Don’t be a pacifist about this. It’s your children’s life at stake. Go to the meetings and make them change their menu completely. Kids are more likely to adhere to good eating habits when they are surrounded by it on all fronts.
Don’t finish your plate!
Too often we tell our children that they have to finish everything on their plate. Maybe it’s because that’s what grandma made us do. Let’s stop this old habit. Eat until you are full. It’s ok to leave food on the plate. In fact, we should only put a very small amount of food on their plate, if they finish the can get seconds, and thirds, and fourths if they want.
There is no reason to sit around and watch television or play video games. Avoid television like the plague. If you can go outside and play, go outside and play. Play tag, play catch, play basketball, hide and seek, play any outdoor game. Anything is better than sitting around inside doing nothing. This will also help the adults become more active as well. If the weather isn’t nice, sign up for a local recreational facility, YMCA, gym membership or anything that will allow you and your kids to participate in activities that involve movement.