Tips for Avoiding Obesity in Kids

Written by mom - 4 Comments

The epidemic of childhood obesity is daunting. At Son #1’s basketball game the other night there were two portly brothers sitting on the sideline, watching the game, and drinking Coca Cola. At half time, they went over to the drink machine (located in the gym!!!) and bought themselves a Powerade to wash down their Cokes. I guess the only saving grace is that their little brother was playing basketball at the time. Maybe the family is trying to make one small change at a time. Who knows?

I feel compelled to share some of our VERY SIMPLE lifestyle tips, because I see more and more chubby kids, like those brothers. Maybe this will inspire you to change some bad habits or encourage you to keep up the good work you are already doing.

Here are the top ten ways that we’ve avoided childhood obesity in our four boys:

1. Drink mostly water and skim milk, juice in moderation and soda only as an occasional treat.
2. Play outside everyday, weather permitting.
3. Introduce them to organized sports (soccer and basketball) when they start Kindergarten.
4. Enjoy physical activities as a family (especially hiking on the weekends).
5. Eat fast food at the MOST once a week (this is a hard one).
6. Include an extra fruit or vegetable at dinner time instead of a starch.
7. Bake only on special occasions (great time saver for mom!).
8. Try to use reduced fat foods whenever possible (e.g., I usually halve the number of yolks in scrambled eggs and use light hotdogs).
9. Small portions of junk foods only after healthy meals are consumed.
10. Live by the mantra… “everything in moderation.”

Our lifestyle seems to work well if our sons’ well child visits are any indication. For example, Son #1 was in the 75th percentile for both height and weight at his nine year old visit. And Son #4 was a little over 50th percentile for height and weight. The middles usually have a slightly higher percentile for weight than height. However, our pediatrician was unphased by this and chalked it up to their body type (more muscle). Interestingly, our doctor also uses BMI (body mass index) to determine weight problems in her young patients. This can be misleading since body type (as in the case of our middles) is not accounted for, but she was able to compensate by simply looking at the boys.

And if you’re looking for a bonus tip, get your kids a pedometer!

Published on January 18th, 2007 - 4 Comments
Filed under: Health
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. When I was growing up, I drank fresh whole farm milk rather than skim milk. I didn’t start drinking skim until I became lactose intolerant after being sick as an adult.

    As for fast food, I would think that once a week would be a bit excessive. I am lucky in that I live in an area where there are delis and local butcher shops all over the place; getting a fresh sandwich at a deli where they slice the meat right there is much better for you than getting something fried and loaded with salt. It tends to be cheaper, too.

    Starches are all right as long as you are physically active. I eat a lot of starches, but I tend to be more physically active than the average person (or kid).

    Comment by Blaine Moore — Jan 18th 2007 @ 8:28 am
  2. I have similar rules to live by, although I’m skeptical of low-fat foods–I usually just try to serve less fatty foods and more vegetables, so I can enjoy the full flavor of a smaller amount of fat. I’m hoping my kids grow up just understanding moderation.

    Great post.

    Comment by patti @ strollerderby — Jan 19th 2007 @ 8:24 pm
  3. With my two boys, 4 & 2 respectively I always dilute any fruit juice that they have by 50% by adding filtered water.

    Comment by Ben — Feb 3rd 2007 @ 6:00 am

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