Pediatricians urge parents to start obesity prevention early on, so that children develop proper habits from young ages and develop into healthy adults.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a set of guidelines that parents could use to develop better preventative measures for obesity for their children. It is crucial that these measures be applied from the beginning, so that the children can develop proper habits later on, in their teen years.
“It is never too early for a family to make changes that will help a child keep or achieve a healthy weight,” says the leader of the Committee on Nutrition from the AAP, Stephen Daniels.
He points out that this is quite an intricate process and that it will prove extremely useful to the parents if they seek the help and guidance of their pediatrician, as the doctor could provide useful advice for the development of a plan and for applying it as well.
Furthermore, Stephen Daniels explained that it could prove beneficial to both the child and the parents if they all follow the same dietary and lifestyle guidelines. This makes the rules believable to the child and also helps adults stay in shape themselves.
The guidelines include advice on how to tackle the major risk factors that are associated with obesity in children, explaining how the proper conduct should be developed.
For instance, the AAP advises parents to carefully think what food is available to the child at all times. Firstly, it is very important that do not have constant access to sugar-filled sweets and beverages. These should be given to the child only on special occasions, when they can be associated with a form of celebration.
It is important that the child has access to low-calorie, healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables at all times and that as many as five servings of these snacks be included in the daily meal.
Furthermore, it is crucial how the food is stored in the kitchen and pantry. Parents are advised to place the healthy food where the child can see it and reach it, such as the bottom shelves of cupboards, the lower compartments of the refrigerators and even on the table.
As for the high-calorie food, this should be placed at the back of shelves so that the child cannot see it and even on the top shelves and compartments, so that the little ones cannot reach it.
It is also extremely important that proper dietary habits be associated with enough exercise. Children need to avoid sedentary habits as much as possible. Therefore, it is very important that they are not left in front of the computer all day long. A proper computer schedule should be developed, so that there is time for exercise every single day.
By imposing a schedule when the children are still young, it will be easier for them to apply the same guidelines in their teenage years and then, even in adulthood. Furthermore, this will also stimulate their imagination, as they will constantly try to come up with some ingenious idea that will give them more computer time.
Another important issue that parents need to keep track of is the children’s sleep schedule. Children need to get about nine hours of sleep so that they may develop properly. Therefore, they need to tech the children how to create a healthy routine in the evening, so that they can rest properly. The window should be opened for at least 10 minutes before bedtime, so that the air is fresh. Then the window should be left opened or closed, according to the weather.
The area near the bed needs to be clear, because sleeping in messy and crowded environments might lead to stress. Also, an alarm clock needs to be provided, so that the children learn to wake up on their own.
There are many more details that could improve the development of a child and prevent obesity and the cohort of disorders that come with it. Therefore, parents need to communicate with the pediatrician, in order to get the best advice, personalized for their children.
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