Obesity in Children: What Can Parents Do?

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I’ve tried to provide a lot of tips, tricks, and information about how to help your child either prevent or fight child obesity.  It’s tough to keep track of all of the guidelines for keeping a child healthy through diet and exercise.  I feel Dr. Paul Thomas, a pediatrician, does an excellent job of summarizing these guidelines in his video “Obesity in Children: What Can Parents Do?”.

Dr. Thomas highlights three key aspects:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Avoid artificially sweetened products
  • Do everything you can to get your child active

Our bodies were designed for us to eat whole foods.  A good rule of thumb Dr. Thomas provides is “living off the land”.  If it can be grown in the earth, then it is most likely healthy for us to eat with minimum consequences as far as weight gain goes.  Some examples of these foods are fruits and vegetables…yum!

Artificially sweetened products include anything that claims to be “diet”.  These foods cause our insulin to pump at extreme levels. As our insulin pumps, we gain more and more fat storage.  Not exactly what you thought when you bought the diet version is it?

Lastly, Dr. Thomas says we need to do anything we can to get our children to exercise.  He describes it perfectly by saying, “energy in needs energy out”.  This means that you have to have a way to burn off all the calories, or energy, we intake or they’ll take a permanent residence on our waistlines in the form of love handles.  No one wants that for their children (or themselves)!

Hopefully his video helps to simply summarize what needs to be done to keep your children healthy!  You can watch his other videos here.


Image source:

http://www.indoindians.com/component/k2/item/42404-of-parents-and-children

Christmas Time is Here

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Although it is a few weeks away, it’s never too soon to start get excited about Christmas!  It is by far my favorite time of the year for multiple reasons, but mostly because of all the decorations.  Ever since I was a kid I’ve always loved decorating the house with my family.

If your kids don’t get excited about decorating, try inciting them into the experience by making edible decorations.  That’s right, I’m talking about festive snacks!  I’ve been perusing around Pinterest a lot lately, and I found some really adorable and healthy holiday snacks for kids!  It’s easy to fall out of healthy habits around the holidays with all the hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, and other treats so I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.  Lets get to it!

Grinch Kabobs

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The Strawberry and Banana Candy Cane

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The Reindeer Sandwich

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Strawberry Santas

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Melted Olaf

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Check out many other Christmas snacks and  food ideas on my Christmas Foods board on the KidsGetHealthy Pinterest!

Just a little something extra since after all, Christmas time is here!


Image sources in order of appearance:

http://udsixth.blogspot.com/2013_11_01_archive.html

http://nourishingminimalism.com/2013/11/grinch-kabobs.html

http://www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/2011/12/fruit-candy-canes.html

http://aspottedpony.com/fun-for-kids/reindeer-sandwiches-kid-friendly-holiday-lunch/4758/

http://www.examiner.com/article/10-whimsical-healthy-holiday-treats-for-kids?CID=obinsite

An Overlook: Campaigns Supporting Child Obesity

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Child obesity is an issue that seems to receive a lot of recognition from the general public and various organizations.  The problem is that most of the people and those involved in the organizations aren’t taking action.  Child obesity isn’t going to go away on its own.  The people who are conscious of the effect child obesity is having on our nation’s youth need to spread awareness and encouragement to others.  There are currently two campaigns run by well-known organizations and people that are doing just that.

NFL Play 60 is one of those campaigns.  NFL Play 60 is the NFL’s campaign to fight child obesity.  They do this by encouraging kids to get 60 minutes of physical activity everyday, hence the “play 60”.  They take actions by integrating football players into communities and schools to inspire kids to exercise.

The two community programs are NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick and NFL Flag.  NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick is a competition for kids ages 6-15 and teaches them the fundamentals of football in a friendly, yet competitive environment.  NFL Flag is for kids ages 5-17.  There are national flag-football competitions held for three divisions: girls, boys, and coed.

There is a whole separate initiative within NFL Play 60 to get schools involved through Fuel Up to Play 60. Schools receive prizes from the NFL for making good choices about healthy foods and participating in getting 60 minutes of playtime a day.

For more information about NFL Play 60 visit their FAQ page.

The other campaign is Let’s Move!.  Let’s Move! was launched by Michelle Obama on February 9, 2010. It takes a different approach than NFL Play 60. Their main goal is to provide healthier food for kids in schools. They also provide information to help make sure families have access to healthy foods and to help kids become more physically active.

In order to bring healthier foods to schools Let’s Move! supports many government run programs that encourage the cause. Some of those organizations are:

  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • School Breakfast Program (SBP)
  • HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC)

Let’s Move! even has its own programs to help schools become healthier:

They partnered with MyPlate to help families learn how to incorporate a healthy diet into their meals. Partnering with the PALA Challenge enables Let’s Move! to encourage kids and teens to exercise.

To learn more about their initiatives and programs visit their Initiatives page.


Image sources from left to right:

http://www.riverregionunitedway.org/blog-entry/25-03-2012/nfl-play-60

http://www.letsmove.gov

Getting Your Kids Excited About Exercising

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Diet and exercise are a key combination to preventing obesity in children and adults. My last post mentioned some options for providing children with a healthy diet. So now lets explore the other half—physical activity.

Physical activity is essential to staying in shape. It burns calories and builds muscle. There are also many other benefits to kids participating in physical activity besides the fact that it controls weight. Some of these benefits are:

  • Strengthens the heart
  • Helps keep arteries and veins clear
  • Strengthens the lungs
  • Reduces blood sugar levels
  • Strengthens bones
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Improves energy levels
  • Enhances emotional well-being

Clearly, it’s a good idea to get your kids into a regular exercise activity.  So what are some ways to get your kids to willingly exercise?

One option is the Cosmic Kids Yoga exercises.  Cosmic Kids Yoga is run by a lady named Jaime who lives right outside of London.  She went to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School which explains the enthusiasm and theatrical nature of her videos.  She teaches yoga to adults as well as kids and has been making the Cosmic Kids videos since May of 2012.

Jaime’s videos will take kids on an adventure of yoga poses for that are sure to keep them entertained and interested in doing the exercises.

Her latest video was added two days ago and features her posture of the week, check it out!

Her most popular video has 882,600 views!

You can look at all of her videos here.

To take things in a different direction, here is a core strengthening exercise!

Physical activity is important for children for multiple reasons.  Now you have a start so you can get kids into a regular exercise routine!

Extra resources:

Check out Dr. John Ratey’s videos about children and exercise here.

Check out more child exercises on the physical activity board on the KidsGetHealthy Pinterest.


Sources:

Benefits source

http://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/10-benefits-of-physical-activity/

Image source

https://www.udemy.com/blog/read-this-before-launching-your-next-udemy-course-kids-yoga-teacher-trainer-jaime-brodie-made-over-10000-using-this-method/

The Road to a Healthier Thanksgiving

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Can you believe that Thanksgiving is already right around the corner?  Thanksgiving dinner is probably the most anticipated and traditional meal of the year.  With it comes bloating, sleepiness, and maybe even a couple extra pounds.  Looking for ways to cut down on calories this Thanksgiving? Maybe you should be.  The average person eats 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving (3,000 come from the mean and 1,500 from drinks and snacks).  4,500 calories.  Wow!   Here’s some information to help you get on the right track to a healthier meal and fewer calories.

Some tips and tricks:

  • Drink water with your meal
  • Use spices and herbs instead of sugars and salts
  • Have fruits for desserts instead of pies (gasp!)
  • Use recipes with pureed fruits instead of butter and oils
  • Use skim evaporated milk instead of heavy cream (less fat)
  • Fill 1/4 the plate with vegetables
  • Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour
  • Use less gravy (a little bit goes a long way)

A snack for the kids:

Try out this fun turkey!  It’s a healthy way to hold them over until dinner and they can even help out with making it.

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Side dishes under 200 calories:

For healthy, traditional Thanksgiving side recipes check out the Healthy Thanksgiving Menu.

Healthier desserts:

While you cook dinner, the kiddos in your family can fit in some exercise!  Have them do the “ABCs of yoga for kids” poses.  They’re fun, kid-friendly, and will keep them calm and quiet (hopefully).

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With Thanksgiving just under a week away, there’s no better time than now to make the change to a healthier lifestyle.  Why not make your first healthy meal be the most looked-forward to meal of the year?

Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating!

For more recipes/information visit:

Thanksgiving foods board on the KidsGetHealthy Pinterest

100 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Turkey Done Light

Guide to Planning a Healthy Thanksgiving


Tips and tricks source: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/downloads/infographics/2013-HolidayMakeover.pdf

Image sources (in order of appearance): http://happythanksgivingpictures-2014.com/happy-thanksgiving-clip-art-pictures-crafts-activities-project-images-clipart-2014/

http://www.topinspired.com/top-10-fun-and-healthy-edible-thanksgiving-centerpieces/

http://www.medimiss.net/2012/07/yoga-for-kids.html

Wonder What Other People Are Saying About Child Obesity?

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It is always interesting to read other people’s thoughts/views on a certain topic or issue.  It’s almost mind-boggling how one topic can spark many different thoughts or tones to the words written by different people.

I went out looking for people’s quotes or just sayings in general that related in some way to child obesity.  The quotes I found were all across the board in terms of tone.  Overall it seems that most of them were sarcastic with others being informative or inspirational.

Here are my favorites. Enjoy!

P.S. You can click on the images to make them larger.

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Image sources:

question mark: http://adifferentmirror.thebodynarratives.com/survey-help-us-collect-stats-on-body-image/

1: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/obesity

2: http://meetville.com/quotes/author/tom-vilsack/page1

3: http://meetville.com/quotes/author/tom-vilsack/page1

4: http://meetville.com/quotes/tag/parenting/page8

5: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140123125524.htm

6: http://mybestbadi.blogspot.com

7: http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMy05ODM2MjI3YWZjN2Y0OWU0

8: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/obesity

9: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/obesity