Your memories of summertime likely involve playing outside with friends or riding bikes to the pool. But with concerns about safety and many parents working outside the home, more and more children are spending their summers inside. That shift can mean extra hours in front of the television or computer with frequent raids to the pantry – adding unhealthy weight to otherwise normal weight children.
Per the CDC, “obesity rates have more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years. Many people think school nutrition is to blame, however recent research shows children gain the most unnecessary weight during the summer.” With just a few small changes we can make a big difference in our families health!
One little change can be to slowly change over sugary drinks in your refrigerator to flavored waters or decaffeinated iced tea. Another doable tweak is to keep fresh fruits, vegetables, and Greek yogurt on hand and easy-to-reach when kids will be left alone. And swapping some of the high sugar treats in the pantry for healthy kid-friendly snacks can be an easy change to help your children avoid weight gain during the next few months. I list of my favorite go-to snack ideas HERE.
Another leading factor that I seem to notice in my own family is the unfortunate epidemic that all family functions seem to focus around food. Instead of planning big family get-togethers at a meal time, spend time keeping your family active. Whether you meet at the park, go to the local pool, or find a fun activity that everyone will enjoy, the goal is to keep everyone busy and creating memories that will last a lifetime. An eight year old isn’t going to remember meeting their grandparents for pizza, but they will always remember a day at the zoo or the time they went strawberry picking with all their cousins.
It’s a well known fact that childhood obesity is a growing problem. Currently one out of every three children in the U.S. is considered overweight or obese. As summer begins, some helpful tools can be to encourage outdoor time, limit time spent on electronics, watch the trips to the ice cream parlor, and keep kids hydrated all summer long. Just like adults, children sometimes think they are hungry when they are just thirsty. For more tips on preventing and managing extra weight, be sure to read THIS great article on the 12 Contributors of Childhood Obesity.
You can help your child develop healthy habits that will bring a lifetime of benefits by modeling healthy eating and educating your children as they grow. Check out THIS great article on how to help your children eat better! This is the summer to start changing the statistics and living a healthy lifestyle! Who’s ready?
Live Fitt!…Be Fitt!