Dr. Ernest Levister
There are a lot of reasons for obesity: bad eating habits, poor nutrition and low or no physical activity. This trifecta puts our community’s children at risk for serious health issues that start when they’re young.
As kids grow they have a voracious demand for calories and nutrients to fuel their growth and development. Getting healthy meals, encouraging healthy eating habits and incorporating greater physical activity takes family involvement, strong programs and changing behaviors that will get more kids healthy. In some local communities the childhood obesity rate is as high as 40 percent. Obesity is the second leading behavioral contributor to death in the U.S.* A lack of nutritious food during childhood can have lasting physical effects.
Many children and families today have busy schedules. These make it hard to sit down to homemade meals every day. Many kids’ diets involve a lot of convenience and takeout food. But these foods can be unhealthy. They can have a negative effect on your child’s health. Some of the problems unhealthy eating causes can continue into adulthood. They can even develop into lifelong diseases. Healthful eating has many benefits for children.
Plus, having a healthy diet and focusing on nutrition are some of the simplest and most important ways to prevent the onset of disease. Healthy eating can help prevent many chronic diseases. These include obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Around half of all Americans have one or more of these illnesses.
Healthy eating habits are more likely to stay with you if you learn them as a child. That’s why it’s important that you teach your children good habits now. It will help them stick with these eating patterns. Start the day with a healthy breakfast. …
- Let kids help plan and prepare 1 meal each week.
- Eat together as a family as often as possible.
- Take time eating, and chew slowly.
- Eat more vegetables and fresh fruits.
- Eat more whole grains.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
Get kids involved. Have your kids help you shop for groceries and choose foods to eat. Teach them how to read a food label so they know the nutrition in the foods they’re choosing. They can also help fix meals and take some ownership in what they’re eating.