Nowadays most parents hardly have time for their kids. It’s facile for them to leave them with a nanny. When you entrust your kids in the hands of a nanny there is no guarantee that they are being well catered for. Child obesity is now on the rampant because parents have chosen to inattentive to the health of their kids. They prefer the easy way out – by stocking their lunch box with candies and junk – which play a huge role in deteriorating the health of their children. Often, most parents believe that a chubby kid equates to being healthy, which is a deceitful belief. The truth is that an obese kid is more prone to bullying and are less likely to be involved in any physical activities which can greatly affect their self-esteem. Below are a few tips on how to help kids maintain a healthy weight
Let’s face it 80% of the food our kids eat are filled with processed and refined sugar. Nigerian parents hardly make out time to prepare a well nourishing meal for their kids. It’s easier for them to visit the nearby Kiosk and grab the nearest biscuits, juice, and candies – definitely, kids love these treats. But what we fail to realize is these treats are gradually deteriorating the health of our kids. These type of foods contain zero nutritional value and are laden with addictive’s and sodium and process sugar which destroys the immune system. The sad part is that Nigerian parents believe that its ok to use these junk treat as a reward for good performance. Over time their kids become addicted to this lifestyle and they crave for are junks. I don’t really blame most parents. I presume they are not knowledgeable on the need to nourish their children with proper diet. But in some cases, the unhealthy lifestyle is due to the busy work demands from parents.
Most Nigerian parents are guilty of this. They think it’s ok a cool and educative thing to do when they mandate their kids to watch cartoon network all day. I’m not saying that watching TV is bad, but moderation is the key. Wouldn’t it be a wise thing if you kids spend their extra time getting enough sleep or doing something that will help them move their body, like dancing, riding bikes, playing music or help cook dinner. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children younger than 2 shouldn’t get screen time at all and kids of the age of 2 and older should get no more than 2 hours of screen time. One of the ways you can use to keep your kids away from the screen is to make a list of what they must do when they come back from school rather than leaving then to their own free will. Telling you kids to stay away from the screen while you too are glued to it will be counter-intuitive. Use that time to help them out with their home works or play with them.
I understand the problem we face today in Nigeria. We live in a system were big corporation will try their best to convince you that their processed and packaged food is a healthier alternative. Nowadays it’s difficult to get fresh fruits and vegetables around your neighborhood. To source organic fresh fruits and vegetable one must have to make out time to visit a vegetable market. Most parents will rather settle with an unhealthy alternative than to make out time for grocery shopping. The truth is that as a parent you will be doing you and your kids a much greater good by opting for fresh organic foods, which are filled with antioxidant that helps nourish the body and make your kids more active and vibrant.
The last thing on most Nigerian parent’s mind is making their kids get regular exercise. Proper exercise goes a long way in preventing child obesity, combating health conditions, improving mood and boosting energy. Most parents do complain that it’s difficult to find a save place for their kids to exercise and sending them to the gym seems to be the last option in their minds. The truth is that exercise is not only good for your kids but also good for you. Finding time for a 30minutels brisk walk during the weekends will go a long way. You can also make you kid active by making them get involved in most house chores rather than getting a help to take care of them.
One way avert child obesity is to make it mandatory that your family eats together. Eating together as a family is that best way to make sure that your family is only getting the nutritious meal you serve and you are able to control how much they eat. When you allow your kids to eat at their own pace, they are likely to overeat, more especially when they are gripped in front of the TV. Make it mandatory that your family gather together and have a healthy breakfast and dinner. In as much as they wouldn’t always agree to what you serve – but with time they will surely get used to it.
Most parents form the habit of stocking their fridge with junks like soda, cakes, biscuit and other processed foods. When your fridge is filled with such food, it makes it easier for your kids to snack on them. But when you stock your fridge with healthy alternatives like fruits, nuts, whole grain, vegetables and milk, you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping your kids away from junk while they are at home.
Sleep is very important in your child development and chances are that if they are not getting enough sleep, they become tired, cranky and unable to think clearly. Research also proves that there are high chances of obesity for a child who gets little sleep. Even infants in the womb spend up to 20 hours per day sleeping, that’s to show you how important sleep is. Research has also proved that sleep plays a huge role in child brain development. Also, a particular study published in the British medical journal shows that kids who have irregular sleep patterns are more likely to perform poorly in school. Getting regular sleep tends to be more difficult in teenage age because teenagers become wired to stay up late due to high demands of school activities. As a parent, it’s your duty to make sleeping a priority in your home. They way to do this is to get everyone to stick to a compulsory routine bedtime.
Getting your children to cook with you in the kitchen is a way to educate them on the importance of eating healthy. It’s an opportunity to make them get familiar with various fruits and Vegetable. Make them see the need of healthy eating and why they should be able to prepare their own meals.
Lastly, consistency is the key. If you set all these rules and yet you are not consistent, you are likely to fall short. Stay consistent and family exercise, about bedtime, about limiting the time spent watching TV’s. Over time it becomes a second nature and your kids will definitely adapt to it. With persistence, you are more likely to instill those habits in them.