5 Tips to Help Kids Maintain a Healthy Weight
September is National Childhood Obesity Month and at NY Foot Health this is a topic that we believe is very important. Studies show that children who are obese are likely to continue to be obese as adults. Obesity causes or worsens many foot conditions including: sesamoiditis, plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia. It also increases your risk for stress fractures, flat feet and other foot and lower extremity issues. In addition, obesity raises your chances of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease—all of which impact your feet and your overall health. We offer a community health initiative on Obesity Prevention because 39% of New Yorkers are obese and we are dedicated to reducing this health issue in our community. Below are 5 suggestions for helping children develop healthy habits and maintaining an appropriate weight:
1. Create a list of healthy foods with your child. Discuss why vegetables, fruits and proteins are important for helping your body work. Point out foods that are high in empty calories and why those should be avoided. Let your child pick some healthy snacks to put on the grocery list each week.
2. Keep your child moving. A child should have at least 60 active minutes every day. This should include different types of exercise including aerobic activities, muscle-strengthening and bone strengthening activities.
3. Limit screen time. By keeping time on the computer, phone, watching TV and playing video games to a set amount, you will naturally encourage your child to pursue more physical activities.
4. Ensure that your child gets enough sleep. Children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be obese. School-age children need between 9-12 hours of sleep each night and teens require 8-10 hours. Set regular bedtimes and have a routine that helps children wind down so they’ll be ready to fall asleep when they get into bed.
5. Make healthy choices fun. Plan active outings such as hiking in a new park or rollerblading. Try out new recipes for nutritious dishes. Small changes made over time will add up to a big difference in your child’s weight and health.