In a new article, Bucking the Trend: Preventing Childhood Obesity, Alison Ventura, PhD, discusses a variety of ways to prevent childhood obesity. As she says, “Vegetarian families have a head start on preventing childhood obesity, […] however, the development of childhood obesity is complex and does not arise from only one or two behaviors (for example, drinking soda or watching television), but from a great many factors that occur throughout a child’s development. Thus, although the ADA’s statement suggests a vegetarian diet is a great first step towards preventing childhood obesity, there are even more steps that can be taken to further reduce the risk of childhood obesity.”
The final section of the article is excerpted below:
Summary: 10 Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity in your Family
1. Give your child the best start by maintaining a healthy diet and weight during pregnancy; consult with a registered dietitian to make sure your pregnancy diet meets all requirements for calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
2. Breast-feed to promote healthy growth, responsiveness to hunger and fullness cues, and acceptance of a broad array of healthful solid foods for your infant.
3. Educate yourself and your children about what portion sizes are appropriate for their specific nutritional needs. Serve these portions sizes on a regular basis.
4. Strive to cook balanced meals at home; if this is not possible, educate yourself about the healthiest fast-food and food away from home options.
5. Encourage your children to drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk, soy milk, or 100% fruit juice instead of soda.
6. Get your family moving! Encourage your children to get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week by making exercise a family affair.
7. Limit screen time (television, computer and video games) to no more than 2 hours per day.
8. Be familiar with how much sleep your children need and encourage them to meet sleep recommendations on most nights.
9. Practice responsive feeding by recognizing your children’s levels of hunger and fullness, setting limits, and sharing feeding responsibilities with children.
10. Adopt a “do as I do” not “do as I say” attitude; model healthy eating and physical activity behaviors for your child.
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