NEW YORK --
Diana Williams and Registered Dietitian Liz DeRobertis discuss the ongoing battle with childhood obesity.
Tune in to Protect Our Children: Healthy and Fit on May 21st at 7 p.m. on Channel 7.
Liz DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, discusses statistics, ways to improve healthy eating, and even brought in some examples of drinks and snacks as better choices for our children.
Pediatric Obesity Statistics: 1 out of 3 low-income children are obese or overweight by their 5th birthday. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled. Obese children are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. A study published in February 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine found after tracking thousands of children through adulthood, that the heaviest children were more than twice as likely as the thinnest children to die prematurely, before age 55. If both parents are overweight, child's likelihood increases by 60-80% - this demonstrates why we need to get the whole family involved.
Primary Causes of Childhood Obesity Inactivity -- television, video games, remote controls, less gym time, and less daily physical activity such as walking to school or playing outside after school. Excessive Calorie Intake -- According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey kids 2-18 are getting 40% of their calories from: soda, sugary fruit drinks, grain desserts (cookies, cakes, donuts), dairy desserts (ice cream, milkshake), pizza, whole milk.
Practical Tips: Make a plan to control TV / Screen Time with a goal of 1-2 hours per day (or less). This isn't going to happen by accident, so you will have to plan it out by discussing with your kids a favorite show or two they want to watch, or which games they'd like to play, and set a schedule for when they are allowed to watch or play. Consider investing in a gaming system that gets you up and moving, so instead of sitting down and only exercising your thumb muscles, the whole family can take part in dancing, bowling, even hoola-hooping. Focus on the drinks-the Liquid Calories. Serving water instead of drinks with calories (soda, juice, vitamin water, Gatorade, ice tea) will save thousands of calories per day, will save you money, and will help to prevent high triglycerides and insulin resistance. Make big pitchers of flavored water or seltzer by adding just a splash of 100% fruit juice Look at calories just like you look at price tags. With all the talk about sugar and fat, sometimes the message on calories gets lost. Weight management is all about calorie control, and choosing nutrient rich foods that are low in calories. Most people do a better job at balancing their financial budget then their calorie budget. Kids are taught the value of money long before the awareness of calorie intake. Teaching kids to look for good deals (bigger portions for lower calories, and focusing on nutrient dense foods vs high calorie foods with nutritional value) is an important lesson that is never too early to teach. Keep your food environment safe. The bottom line is that if it's not there, they can't eat it. Only buy the foods you want your family to eat, ideally in the portions that you'd like them to eat the food in. The bigger size bag we eat out of, the more we eat. The Maximum Potential Damage is calculated by multiplying the calories per serving x the servings in the entire package. If you are buying bags of snack foods that have 1000 calories in them, you are setting your kids up for easy access to too many calories. Spark their interest in healthy foods. Everyone knows they should be feeding their kids more fruits and vegetables, but that is likely easier said than done. Take you kids shopping with you whenever you can. Getting them involved in the food selection has been proven to increase the amount of healthy food they will eat, if they have had a vested interest in bringing it home from the store. Make a trip to a supermarket instead of the local convenience store. In many areas it is hard to find healthy foods. Figuring out a way to take weekly trips to a market with a healthier food selection is key to making healthier choices at home. It all starts in the store, because if you don't buy the healthier foods, your kids can't eat the healthier foods. Make family mealtime routine. Eat without distraction, and stay at the table to keep each other company. A new study finds three household routines lower the risk of obesity in children: having family dinners, getting enough sleep and limiting weekday TV time. Four-year-olds in homes that followed these practices had a nearly 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than children who did none of these things. Help kids get in touch with physical hunger vs eating for other reasons including boredom. Ask younger kids if it's their belly or their eyes that want the food. If you are finding that your kids are eating out of boredom or habit, use a tactic called Running Interference which means that they are sent off to do a few pre-determined things. It may be they have to do 10 minutes of homework, maybe read a few pages of a book, maybe call one friend, can drink a big glass of water.. and if they do the pre-determined things and still want the snack, they can come back for it, but there is a good chance they will get caught up in another activity. Be strategic about introducing new / healthy foods. Wait until they are hungry and then offer them vegetables or fruit first! It's a tactic I use in my house all the time, while my kids are waiting for dinner, I put vegetables out on the table for them to mindlessly munch on while waiting for the rest of the meal. If they are hungry enough they will eat them, and another benefit is now they are starting to fill up on high fiber, nutrient rich foods, which all also help them to eat less of any calorie dense foods that may follow.
Websites with more tips/info & initiatives:
CDC CHILDHOOD OBESITY SOLUTIONS
CDC FACT SHEET
LETS MOVE CAMPAIGN
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