In a recent report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated recommendations on childhood obesity prevention. Along with diet modifications and reducing screen time, the AAP encourages pediatricians to work with families to identify opportunities for physical activity. Parents are also encouraged to model healthy behaviors for their children.
More importantly, healthy eating and physical activity should be tailored to the child’s developmental stage and family characteristics.
Here are a few reminders to help your family maintain a healthy weight:
- Buy fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, high-calorie snacks and sweets. If you want to have these foods for a special celebration, buy them shortly before the event and remove them immediately afterward.
- Healthy foods and beverages (water, fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie snacks) should be readily available and in plain sight on the kitchen table, counter or in the front of a shelf.
- High-calorie foods should be less visible – wrapped in foil rather than clear wrap, and placed in the back of the fridge or pantry.
- Encourage children to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Increase physical activities together to meet the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day. Examples of activities, include: team sports, dog walking, bowling, using the stairs, going to a park, playground, or walking/bicycle trail.
- Reduce sedentary behaviors. One way to achieve this is to remove the TV and other media from the bedroom and the kitchen.
- Children who sleep less than 9 hours a night are more likely to be overweight or obese; focusing on bedtime and understanding how much sleep children need at various ages can help improve a child’s overall health and well-being.
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