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Adults can act as role models to encourage children to eat healthy and stay active.

Adults can act as role models to encourage children to eat right and stay active.

Childhood obesity continues to be a major health problem and is increasing at an alarming rate. A few decades ago it was uncommon to see an overweight or obese child, whereas today, it is much more common  and becoming more so every year.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one out of every seven children, or 15 percent of children in the U.S., are overweight or obese. In fact, over the last three decades, the rate of obesity has more than doubled for preschool children and adolescents, and more than tripled for elementary school-age children.

Tips for Keeping Kids On the Move

Children who are inactive are more likely to become overweight because they are not burning extra calories like children who are physically active. When calories consumed become greater than calories burned, the result is weight gain. Television and video games may also play a large role in kids leading a sedentary lifestyle and becoming overweight. Here are a few ways to help encourage lifestyle habits that keep children active.

  • Make physical activity fun! Encourage outdoor activities that kids like such as bicycling, skating, or swimming. Get them involved in sports they enjoy, whether it’s a team sport or individual sport. The important thing is that they enjoy it. If they find it fun, they will be more likely to do it.
  • Be sure to get involved with your children, picking activities that the whole family can enjoy together. Plan outings as a family—bike rides, nature walks, scavenger hunts, and play games like Red Rover that encourage fitness. Let them witness you enjoying the activity along with them. Making time for outdoor play is important because often a child’s entire schedule can become dominated with sedentary, indoor activities.
  • Have children help with daily chores, whether it’s sweeping, vacuuming, gardening, anything that gets them moving. Not only will they be helping out, but they will also be getting some physical activity at the same time.

Tips to Keep Kids Eating Right

In addition to not expending much energy, kids who participate in sedentary activities often practice unhealthy snacking, which further contributes to weight gain. Other than physical activity, the best method to help control weight is to eat nutritious meals regularly. Here are a few ways to help children healthy by encouraging them to eat right.

  • Enjoy family meals prepared at home. Studies show that children who eat meals frequently at home and with their families have better nutritional intake and a reduced risk for obesity. Once again, as adult role models, when we allow children to assist us in preparing meals at home and eating with us, it invites them to learn healthy traditions that can stay with them the rest of their lives. 
  • When children are on the run, don’t let them head straight for ready-to-eat processed foods that are high in calories, sugar, fat and sodium. Cut out fast food or, if you must, encourage them to choose healthy alternatives—apples over fries, sweet potato fries over regular fries. Encourage whole fruits for snacks instead of chips, milk or water instead of soda.
  • Fill in nutritional gaps with Isagenix products. Too many children in the U.S. are overfed, but undernourished. The products can help children to grow and develop strong bones, muscles and minds. Here are products that children are sure to enjoy and can help promote their long-term health.  
    • As part of a nutritious breakfast, children can enjoy a quick-and-easy IsaLean® Shake, which is high in protein, contains balanced amounts of carbohydrates and “good” fats, is low in sodium, and contain a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Children also enjoy taking IsaLean Bars to school as afternoon snacks.
    • Replace sugary sodas and drinks with IsaFruits®, a drink powder mix that provides children with the antioxidant equivalent of having consumed more than 30 different fruits without consuming all the sugar.
    • Gain peace of mind with chewable IsaKids® Essentials, which can help cover daily requirements for many vitamins and minerals. For example, the dietary supplement contains vitamins A, C and E, folic acid, iodine and zinc. And, unlike other children’s vitamins, it is sweetened with xylitol to help fight cavities.  

Keeping Kids Motivated

Rewarding healthy behaviors can help keep kids motivated. Don’t focus on the number of pounds they lost, but rather on making healthy changes. Activities they enjoy, such as taking them to the movies or a trip to the park, make fantastic rewards.

As parents and responsible adult role models, it is truly our responsibility to not only set good examples, but also to reinforce positive habits like eating right and staying active. Every child deserves a bright and healthy future. We can each do our part to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic.