Fitness First – Childhood Obesity

Are you a healthy role model for your children? According to the CDC, over the past three decades the childhood obesity rate has more than tripled for children between the ages of 6-11 years old.What’s more alarming is that overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This increases to 80 percent if one or more parent is overweight or obese.

So, what can we do about it?

Here’s how to change unhealthy behaviors and create a healthy-weight environment for the entire family.

  • Start small. Gradual changes are easiest to incorporate into the daily routine — and to maintain long term. Start by making a few small changes, such as reducing the number of times you eat out, limiting the your daily soda intake, or taking a family walk after dinner once a week.
  • Surround your family with healthy foods. Stock your kitchen with fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods and other healthy choices. Keep junk food and sugary drinks out of the house.
  • Recognize triggers. Be prepared for situations that may tempt you to fall back to your old habits. If you’re used to eating popcorn and candy at the movies, for example, — or agree that you’ll share a small carton of popcorn with your child rather than ordering separate treats.
  • Celebrate success. Frequent rewards can help keep your family motivated. When your child meets a goal — by asking for fruit rather than cookies after school, for example — offer praise and attention. When your family meets a goal, brainstorm healthy ways to celebrate your success. You might try a family movie night, a weekend picnic or a trip to the pool.
  • Keep it positive. Focus on healthy lifestyle changes, rather than your child’s appearance or a number on the scale. Remember, treating childhood obesity isn’t a race. It takes time and dedication to replace established behaviors with new, healthier behaviors.
  • Be flexible. It’ll take time to get used to your healthier habits. Encourage everyone to stick to the plan — but if the goals aren’t working for your family, consider making adjustments. It’s better to create a new plan than to stick to one that isn’t working.

Hey Acadiana, help us make Acadiana healthier. Stay active with your kids, practice healthy habits…. and keep Fitness First!

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