Healthy food for kids – Stop childhood obesity

Some facts about childhood obesity

 Being overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone or a combination of these factors.

Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. What causes concern is the fact that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2010 more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Obesity is the result of a “caloric imbalance” – too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed – which is affected by various genetic, behavioral and environmental factors.


Health effects of childhood obesity

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 child obesity

The effects of childhood obesity on your child’s health and comfort can be divided into two categories: immediate and long-term. Some of the immediate ones are:

  • Increased risk for heart disease, such as high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
  • Obese teenagers are more prone to prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels show a high possibility to develop diabetes.
  • Children and teenagers who are obese are also more prone to develop bone and joint problems, sleep apnea. Moreover, it can affect their social lives and cause psychological problems like stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Some of the long-term health consequences include as follows:

  • Being obese as a child or adolescent increases the risk of being obese as an adult as well, which brings about adult health issues such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, some types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
  • Being overweight or obese is more than anything linked with a high risk of developing most types of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrium, kidney, esophagus, pancreas, thyroid, gall bladder, ovary, prostate and cervix cancer, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

How can we as parents protect our children and prevent them from becoming obese?

The first thing we can do is to establish some healthy lifestyle practices, including healthy eating and physical activity which will lower the possibility of becoming obese and having the associated ailments.

It is indeed true that the nutritional and physical activity conducts of children are controlled by many segments of society including schools, families, communities, the media, the entertainment industries, the food and drink industries, etc.

More than any of these schools play a predominantly critical role in establishing and supporting a healthy environment that provides students opportunities to be informed about and practice healthy eating and get the physical activity they need.

Lucky for us in the past few years there has been an increasing concern in childhood obesity and in 2010 Michelle Obama launched the “Let’s move!” Campaign which was highly successful and educational for both parents and students and managed to even enroll celebrities like Beyoncé to make it appeal to kids more.

It is all the more important that we as parents support the initiative taken by schools to serve healthier snacks to our children at school and therefore serve nutritious snacks to our children at home as well and offer them opportunities to exercise.

What are the snacks that we should keep our kids away from and what do we replace them with?

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As we all know kids need vitamins, minerals and nutrients from food to help them grow and keep their energy levels up.

Unhealthy snacks such as chips, cookies, fast food, convenience food (frozen meals), fizzy dinks, salty snacks, pizza, bagels, etc. contain a lot of fat and sugar, and they do not satisfy your child’s hunger for long nor do they give the necessary nutrients that can be found in our homemade healthy snacks.

Sure they may taste good but there are many more healthy options out there that your child will enjoy and benefit from more.

Some of these are: spinach, Goji berries, salmon, avocado, broccoli, almonds, beets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, grapefruit, watermelon, cabbage, and basically all fruit and vegetables.

If you try to integrate all of these into your kid’s healthy snacks they will provide the vitamins and nutrients your child needs for growth and will raise his energy levels.              


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