Childhood obesity in America has become an epidemic problem. We live in a digital era where many kids prefer to stay home glued to the TV or on video consoles or mobile games. The obsession with indoor play contributes to the obesity problem.
The answer to tackling it head on includes parents taking an active stance into monitoring their children’s eating and activity level. The easiest and best way to impart the importance of remaining active and physical at all times is to get your children moving from as early as possible, even preschool age.
“Young children are naturally inquisitive, intrinsically interested and inherently active,” says Educator and Health Expert Susan Mandell, founder of Room 101, a Florida fitness facility created to combat childhood obesity. “Getting preschool-age kids up and moving usually doesn’t require bribery or much pushing.”
Despite the fact that pre-schoolers already have an innate interest to move, there are still things that parents can to to make sure their youngest ones are getting motor-development fitness as well.
Mandell offers these five tips for combating childhood obesity by starting with your preschooler:
1. KISS Method – Keep it Safe and Simple
2. Be the best role model and get down and exercise with them.
3. Stay focused and observe their physical interaction at play, with other children and in groups.
4. Music is a must for little ones. Incorporate music and songs into play, especially if it is raining outdoors. Turn up the stereo and put on some music and dance.
5. Stick to larger gross motor activities.There is no need to focus on activities that require more precision considering they are still getting used to toddling about.
Determining whether a child is pre-disposed to being obese is hard. One sure sign is family history. If you, your spouse or partner or members of the family are overweight or obese could be a clue but not necessarily a sole determining factor. Parents that are fit, eat healthy and regularly exercise are likely going to pass on the importance of that lifestyle on to their children. So the first step to counterbalancing the onset of childhood obesity is to change your own life first and make fitness and better eating priority.
Notwithstanding that, parents should never send a bad message to their children about his or her weight, Mandell warns. It would only create more problems than solutions and potentially create insecurities and contribute to self-esteem issues later. Instead, use positive words about how moving and exercise are good for increasing energy, and getting fresh air. Be the best role model, she adds. Give them TLC and expose them to sports and other play options available. In due time, hopefully, they will recognize and learn to love going out and moving often and regularly, even without being told.