Kids watch everything that adults do. Help them develop healthy eating habits early in life, because heart disease begins in childhoods. Research has revealed that the beginning of plaque buildup has been found in kids as young as 2. Recently, researchers have also found that obese children are developing the type of artery stiffness that is not usually seen until middle age. Why is this? Children eat too much junk and drink too many sugary drinks. Studies show that 30% of kids eat fast food everyday. Childhood obesity is becoming a huge (no pun intended) problem in American. Studies show that 20% of children between the ages of 6-11 are obese, that’s up 5% from 1980, and in adolescents between 12-19, the rate is up 6.5%.
What can we do about it? Start making changes at home, and make sure that you follow the rules as closely as you want your children to. If there are usually soft drinks in the house, establish a rule that soda is only for special occasions, or one night on the weekend as a treat.
Start preparing more meals at home and pass on the take out. If time is limited, cook meals ahead of time and freeze them, so all you have to do is reheat. Cut and dice salad items and store them in containers in the fridge so all you have to do is throw them together in a bowl. Make a goal of having a home cooked meal 5 nights a week.
Make healthier choices at the supermarket so there isn’t a lot of junk food in the house. Keep fruit, cheese, whole-wheat crackers, hummus and veggie sticks around to snack on.
Encourage outdoor family activities to make sure they get some form of physical exercise daily.
These changes can be made in small steps so they don’t overwhelm the household. Start by eliminating one thing this week, wait a couple of weeks, then make another change so that people can adapt gradually. And when there is a little whining about it, remember the studies made on childhood obesity and don’t let your child become a statistic.