Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What Parents Can Do To Fight Obesity In Children

Obesity in children has been growing at an alarming rate in some developed countries. Children nowadays are also spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. And today's busy families have fewer free moments to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals, day in and day out. From fast food to electronics, quick and easy seems to be the mindset of many people, young and old, in the new millennium.

As mentioned by Dr Trisha Macnair, "Obesity is the state of being seriously overweight - to a degree that affects your health. Obesity in childhood is linked to many health complications and tends to indicate the child will be obese as an adult." Since Obesity affects the well being of our children, we really have to look into how we can prevent Obesity in Childhood and a lot of time, it really starts with us.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of the huge coverage in the media, especially television, regarding the rapidly growing rate of obesity in children.

Even more painfully obvious is the fact that although our presumed awareness has increased, the actions taken to address this issue have not.

The phrase “you are what you eat” is painfully true, especially when dealing with obesity in children. So, if the assumption is made that as parents or adults, our awareness of the problem is there, then why aren’t we seeing a decrease in obesity in children rather than the reverse?

The truth is, children don’t do the weekly shopping for groceries, and they don’t cook the meals. So where is the food coming from? Who is the person responsible for bringing the food into the home? Children will eat what is available and they will no doubt scream if they don’t get all the fast food and junk food they desire, but who is the parent and who is running the show? Obesity in children is a serious issue that can and will cause health issues for these young people.

Admittedly, kids can wear the best of parents down but at the end of the day, their physical future is just as important or even more so, then their educational and vocational future. So, let’s review some tactics that might help over time.

Control the Amount on the Plate

It's no wonder that obesity in children is on the rise when you see the servings of food considered normal. Average portions served in fast food outlets and in many family restaurants have more than doubled since the 1950’s. As a result, the public has come to believe that these huge portions are in fact average, or normal. They are not. Portions served in Asia and Europe are considerably smaller and the results are obvious. If you find yourself at a fast food outlet and the kids are screaming, now’s the time for compromise. Get the smaller servings or share the servings between a couple of them. Be sure to avoid the sugared drinks and this includes fruit juices. Even though they are low in fat and sugar does not contain fat, sugar is stored as fat if not burned up with exercise.

Encourage the kids to eat slower. Perhaps engage them in conversation over the meal so they slow down. By eating at a slower pace, it give the brain time to get the message from the stomach that it is in fact full. What About Between Meals?

Let’s face it; kids can be bottomless pits when it comes to satisfying their appetites. It may seem difficult at first, but keeping the junk food out of the house is a good place to start. If it can’t be avoided, then only have small amounts in the house at any one time and perhaps only allow them once a day or every other day as a treat.

Many people suggest more fat free choices but if they are manufactured food, then what is usually done is more sugar is added o help the flavor and this can in fact be worse than the normal fat.

Natural, unprocessed food should always be the first choice. Fruit and veggies, already cut up and ready for the kids to grab is very handy and kids will get used to it. Even peanut butter on oat bran bread is a much better choice than cookies and candy.When kids are hungry enough, they’ll eat what’s available so make their choices healthier.Obesity in children can impact every area of their lives, including relationships with others.

No More Couch Potato

Activity is the name of the game. Having an electronic babysitter in the form of TV, computer and video games, although sometimes unavoidable for your sanity, really can contribute to obesity in children. If they don’t want to go outside and play, or do sports, then compromise and put in video games that are activity oriented, like learning to hiphop or learn other dances. Even exercise videos can be fun.

Instead of driving to places that are within walking distance, walk. This provides good exercise and gets the children outside in the fresh air.

Obesity in children is a huge problem and requires the attention of those people who are responsible for their care. The physical well being of children is just as important as their education because what kind of future will they have if it is negatively impacted by obesity and the serious medical complications that go with it? What kind of future will they have then?

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About the Author, Deb Marsden: Overcoming Childhood Obesity is one of the greatest challenges faced today. Available resources can be found here. http://getobesityfacts.com/

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How To Get Your Child To Sleep Through The Night

Some good tips on how to get your child to sleep through the night.

A child that wakes frequently during the night disrupts the entire household. It doesn't matter if your little insomniac is an infant, a toddler, or an older child; frequent sleep interruptions are unhealthy. Intervention is necessary.

Make Sleep a Priority

Most children under the age of 12 need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. If your child does not get adequate rest, sleeping disorders quickly develop. One way to prevent issues with sleep patterns is to make sleep a priority.

• Decrease physical and mental stimulation as bedtime approaches.

• Set a bedtime and stick to it. Do not alter the bedtime on the weekends or as a special reward.

• If your child appears tired during the day, allow them to nap for a few minutes until they establish a healthy sleep pattern.

• A daily routine that includes regular exercise and a set start time for each day encourages healthy sleep habits.

Preparing for Bedtime

A bedtime routine helps your child gear down for the evening.

• Decrease the amount of fluid consumed two hours before bedtime to eliminate potty-breaks during the night. Avoid caffeine and sugar at least five hours before bed as well.

• Encourage your child to choose a stuffed animal or blanket to take to bed every evening for comfort.

• Play soothing music, watch a few minutes of non-stimulating television in the evening, or read a book at bedtime.

• Draw the shades and use a white noise machine or a rhythmic nature sounds tape. Turn on nightlights while your child is still awake.

It is important for your child to learn to fall asleep on his own. If he relies on you to initiate sleep by nursing him, rocking him or singing to him, you must intervene every time your child awakes during the night.

Put your baby to bed while he is drowsy but still awake. You may stay in the room and gently pat his back or speak softly to reassure him of your presence, but allows him to learn to fall asleep on his own. This is an important life skill.

Many parents resort to co-sleeping with their child when the child wakes up frequently at night. This works for some families. Most parents eventually regret resorting to co-sleeping, as it fosters a continual need in the child to sleep with a person. Unless you are prepared to share your bed with your child for several years, co-sleeping is not a good strategy to choose.
Changing sleeping patterns requires small adjustments over many nights. If your child expects you to rock him to sleep every night, decrease the period of rocking by two minutes each night, progress to a few minutes of walking around the room before bed, and finally place him in the crib while he is drowsy but awake.

Children do not like change. Any change – no matter how small - is often met with strong protests and extended crying. It is important to check on the child often and reassure him that you are nearby. Do make it clear that he is to stay in his bed or crib.

Getting your child to sleep through the night may seem like an impossible task. With patience, determination, and vigilance, you and your child really can both get more rest.

About the Author, Lily Morgan: Find helpful and creative ideas for parents and grandparents while you shop a great selection of kids furniture and classic toys. Visit us online at
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