While Americans are having health problems related to weight, the problem in Australia is even bigger. It has been found that 1 in 4 children in Australia are overweight. This shocking statistic proves that nearly every citizen in Australia knows an overweight child. Some parents of these children see no hope, but there is help out there. There are specialists in this area, as there are in nearly any other area of the medical field.
These fitness professionals have various tools in their bag to help these children. They can help directly through programs that specifically target both health and fitness. They also can help these young patients more indirectly through educating both parents and caregivers who use these programs. .
There are two main factors causing these high numbers of overweight children, and both of them are simple to remedy if they are hit head-on. The first main issue is the lack of physical activity that children get in this day and age, with the second issue being the amount of high-calorie foods that these children are eating. While these may seem like basic problems that are easy to solve, the amount of children living with obesity proves that something needs to be done. Here are some tips to help prevent the epidemic.
Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day
There is another astonishing study about this national dilemma showing that those children who skip breakfast tend to have lower concentration levels, partake in higher calorie foods, and have a higher rate of obesity than those who do eat breakfast. Breakfast is important for various reasons: it starts your day off with a variety of vitamins and nutrients, wakes up your metabolism, and prevents most children from snacking on junk food all day. There are numerous choices that are a healthy start to the day. Some of these choices include wholegrain carbs, fruit, and low fat yogurts. These will allow the body to release the energy slowly and in a sustained fashion, reducing the need for snacks.
Low Fat Dairy Choices Are Best
It has been recommended by the National Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents that every child over two years old should consume only low fat dairy products. Usually the lower fat items contain more calcium than the regular varieties, so this should not create worry. These items are perfectly safe for overweight children to consume.
No More High-Sugar Drinks
Drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks all fit into this category. These drinks are all made from concentrated forms of carbs, and can contain enormous amounts of sugar. Cutting these drinks out of the diet of an overweight child is a crucial step to helping them. The daily choices for these children should be limited to low fat milk and water. Sports drinks should only be given under specific circumstances, but should never be given unless under the recommendation of a specialist. Normal day-to-day activity of children do not require these drinks; water will do the job just fine.
Allow Only Healthy Snacks To Be Eaten
There are many options available for children to snack on such as cheese dips and sugary fruit snacks, but these choices tend to be high in calories with little nutritional value. These snacks also are quickly digested, creating the need for children to eat more often. The choices that should be allowed are fresh fruits and vegetables as well as snacks that are high in protein for slower digesting, and foods that have a slow energy release. Some options include cheese and crackers, yogurt, low fat milk and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Reduce The Amount Of Screen Time
This is another crucial step to helping children reduce their weight. The amount of time children as a whole spend watching TV, playing video games and surfing the internet is absurd, and must be cut back. Since active children burn more calories, these ‘screen time’ activities should be limited to about two hours per day.
Try For An Hour Of Activity Each Day
With such an array of physical activity available for children, such as sports, swimming or simply running around, it should be no problem for one to find an hour to spend with their children engaged in a physical activity. One hour a day does not mean that the child is active; this is simply the minimum for good health and weight control.
Small Steps Any Person Can Take To Help
There are many great ideas that can be done to increase the amount of physical activity children get. Some of these include parking the car farther away from the store, encouraging children to walk to school, and using stairs instead of an elevator. Things around the house such as chores and walking the family pet can count as well. All of these activities burn daily calories, and help get the heart pumping to improve the health of children.