Ten Ways to Fight Obesity
1. Minimize caloric intake while increasing exercise.
Exercise is the main defense against childhood obesity. Statistics show that kids are consuming 3% more calories but getting an average of 20% less exercise. It is important to have a balance between activity and eating healthy snacks and right sized portions at meals.
2. Turn off the TV and limit time on the computer.
The American Journal of Public Health published a survey stating that 59% of children watched between 2 and 4 hours of television daily. Add this to the 2 hours many children spend on the internet chatting with friends and it is easy to see why exercise is so important. Staying thin and healthy increases a child's confidence level. Studies indicate a direct correlation between obesity and low self-esteem.
3. Walk to school (or at least walk as much as possible during the day.)
This alone can make one of the biggest differences in activity levels. If your child is bused to school, then encourage them to walk around the track at school during recess to get extra exercise.
4. Fight for recess and physical education classes.
As school's budgets decrease and the focus is on "results" based test scores, optional classes like recess and physical education are being cut. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, it is not just how much children exercise that counts but how long they exercise that is important. They benefit more from short bursts of exercise during the day. Recess and physical education classes not only increase metabolism but also relieve stress. Stress affects a child's eating habits negatively.
5. Reform your school lunch program.
Pack your child's lunch and be sure that it is full of healthy snacks, a healthy sandwich, water and no sweets other than fruit. This is the best way to insure that your child is eating as he should. In the interim, get involved and try to get your school to serve healthier menus.
6. Get more sleep.
A Northwestern University study indicates that inadequate sleep has a negative impact on children's performance in school and increases their risk of being overweight. An extra hour of sleep lowers a child's risk of being overweight from 36% to 30%. Get some sleep.
7. Stop drinking sugar.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that many children get most of their calories from soda, juice and sports drinks. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink water.
8. Sign up for something.
Our bodies are meant to move and nothing makes that as easy as doing something fun. Experiment with different activities. Martial arts, dance, swimming, cycling or forming a walking club are all good options.
9. Get outside.
Find an outdoor activity like running, walking, or hiking. It doesn't cost money and being outdoors is good for everyone.
10. Get a home fitness program.
Nothing beats home fitness in terms of cost and efficiency. Tapes are available in the library if one can't afford to purchase them. I have created a workout and exercise tape which I am donating to elementary schools.
**Information courtesy of BeachBody, Ten Ways to Fight Obesity by Steve Edwards,