By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Families should change to keep kids health
Placeholder Image
Q: Our kids are within the normal weight range for their age and height, but I’m the first to admit their eating habits are awful. I don’t want them to end up joining the epidemic of obesity. Should I be concerned? What should we do to be sure they avoid becoming overweight?

A: It’s great that you are asking this question now, before a problem develops. Reversing bad habits is always much more difficult than avoiding them in the first place.
The best approach is to tackle the issue as a family, not just as something to be forced on the kids. Working to improve the entire family’s diet and exercise habits can lay the foundation for lifelong health for your kids.
The root causes of the obesity epidemic aren’t much of a mystery. Let’s look at some of the specific risk factors:
• Eating high-calorie, high fat, high sugar foods on a regular basis. Having a treat once in a while is rarely a problem, but we often act as if every meal is a feast. And watch those portions, especially when you’re eating out.
• The couch potato. Watching TV and playing computer games is perfectly fine — but when it consumes too much of your kids’ free time, to the exclusion of physical activity, you’ve got a recipe for serious weight gain. Set reasonable limits in your home and insist that screen time be matched with outdoors or sports time.
• The gene pool. If the branches of your family tree are sagging under the weight of obese relatives, your child may be predisposed to put on excess weight. A little extra effort can counterbalance this.
• Psychology. Some kids overeat to cope with problems at school, at home, or with self-image. Knowing what’s eating your kids can help you control what’s being eaten by your kids.
• What’s in the cupboard? Make sure you stock your home with healthy snack and meal choices. Try buying lean beef and baked chips instead of fried. You get the idea. You won’t need to change everything to make a big difference in what goes into your kids.
Most important, set a good example. Seeing you making healthy choices is the best education your kids can have.
Sign up for our e-newsletters