On the 20th November it's World Children's Day, and annual celebration to support children’s welfare across the globe. One of the biggest health issues facing our children today is the rise of childhood obesity.
It's estimated that 38 million children worldwide under the age of 5 are obese and unfortunately this number is only increasing. From 1975 to 2016 obesity rates in girls rose from 0.7% to 5.6%, and in boys from 0.9% to 7.8%.
Perhaps even more worrying is that 60% of those overweight in puberty will continue to be overweight as adults. The health risks of being overweight are well documented, so what can we do to protect our children's health?
Help them develop a healthy relationship with food
A cookie or a cake are always going to be appealing to children. But if your child can walk away when they've had their fill and go and play, instead of eating the entire tin, you know they have a healthy relationship with food.
There are several ways to achieve this:
- Don't ban any types of food. Children are curious and will always want to try things. Limit exposure to fatty, sugary foods but don't make them out of bounds as this will only make your child want them more.
- Offer a variety of foods. Different colours, different textures, smells and tastes will keep your child interested and teach them to try different foods.
- Lead by example. Sit down to family meals together and show that you also enjoy healthy food choices.
- Make mealtimes positive and less about food nagging, forcing, coercing and more about family fun.
- Use positive vocabulary around food and don't shame certain produce. Most food has a place in our diets so be careful not to label things good or bad.
Nurture to nourish
The more we teach our children about food, the more likely they are to make informed choices. If they know what's good for them and that they can have a treat sometimes, they're much more likely to choose wisely.
Try the following to achieve this:
- As your child grows make sure they're knowledgeable about foods. How much food do they need each day? Are they hungry or thirsty? How much fruit and veg should they consume? If they're educated they can start to make smart decisions.
- Let your child help with the grocery shop. Encouraging the purchase of healthy food and allowing them to help cook it, can lead to positive affirmations with food.
- Teach your child where food comes from. There's nothing more rewarding than picking a carrot they have grown themselves and then chomping into it.
- Have healthy snacks for when your child just can't wait; a varied fruit bowl, some yoghurt, carrot dips etc.
Whether your child is 3 or 13, they still need to be active for a good portion of the day. Modern entertainment can lead to a sedentary lifestyle so encourage them to get outside and moving.
You could try:
- Family exercise. Going for a walk together, a bike ride or a trip to the skate park are all healthy activities that the entire family can enjoy.
- Limit screen time. If your child is not looking at a screen the likelihood is that they'll get active.
- Make exercise part of their weekly routine. Team sports and activities such as football club or dance lessons might inspire them.
- Lead by example. If your child sees you enjoying an active lifestyle they're much more likely to follow.
We at Britt’s Superfoods try to live a healthy lifestyle and believe in the 80 - 20 rule. We're careful about what we consume 80% of the time but allow ourselves a little indulgence the other 20%.
Our organic superfood juices complement this lifestyle perfectly as we get nutritional content combined with great taste and health benefits. If you would like to take advantage of these juices as part of your families lifestyle choices, visit our shop today.