Maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is essential for a child’s growth and development. In order to prevent childhood obesity, parents and healthcare providers should monitor body fat and educate children on healthy lifestyle choices.
Don’t be worried if your child has more body fat than expected. The good news is that you can help your children maintain a healthy body fat percentage by taking a few simple steps.
Healthy food choices to prevent childhood obesity
Food choice is the most important factor determining your child’s health and growth. It’s important for you to help them develop healthy eating habits and limit calorie-rich temptations.
This means avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks. Instead, introduce more nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains into your child’s daily diet.
💡 One of the examples would be keeping a supply of nutritious, ready-to-eat food at home.
These include a variety of fruits that can be consumed raw, like apples, grapes, and bananas.
You could include more dairy products, such as low-fat or flavor-infused milk, cheese, yoghurt, whole-grain snacks, or low-sugar biscuits. Remind your children to pick these foods if they are hungry and in a hurry.
Monitor the meal frequency and portion size
Start by encouraging regular meal times and limiting snacking between meals. You’re helping to regulate their appetite and making sure they’re getting the right amount of nutrients for optimal growth and development.
And don’t rush through meals; encourage your child to eat slowly; this way they can learn to recognize when they’re full and prevent overeating.
You should be conscious of the portion sizes you serve your children. To make sure your child eats enough food throughout the day, you may schedule 3 main meals and 2 snacks. If you plan your child’s meals thoughtfully, you can address both the budget and the nutrients needed at the same time.
To ensure that the menu you planned is suitable, you may refer to the checklist below:
- Is your child eating a variety of foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day?
- Does he consume foods from all food groups?
- Does he drink milk and plain water on a daily basis?
- Do you make an effort to prepare meals using healthy cooking methods such as steaming, baking, or roasting on a daily basis?
- Is the food selection being repeated too frequently? For instance, fried chicken 5 times per week.
- Is the meal you made high in nutritional value/nutrient density?
Get your kids to be more active
Parents should also try to limit the amount of screen time that their children are getting, as excessive screen time has been linked to an increased risk of obesity in children.
Instead of nagging your kids to stop spending too much time on their phones or iPads, you should suggest an engaging activity to do together as a substitute for playing games on the phone.
Here are some helpful exercise ideas for you and your kids:
- Take family walks or play active games together to incorporate physical activity into your family’s daily routine.
- You could get your kids some new sports equipment that promotes physical activity.
- Take the kids to places where they can be active, like public parks, community football fields, or basketball courts.
Make sure your child gets enough sleep
A study that followed nearly 1,000 children from birth to age 15 discovered that earlier bedtimes can have a long-term impact. The researchers discovered that preschoolers who went to bed before 8 p.m. had half the risk of obesity as those who went to bed after 9 p.m.
Given that inadequate sleep is closely related to childhood obesity, it’s important to establish a regular sleep routine with your children.
Stick to the routine as much as possible to ensure your kid gets adequate sleep. This should include a consistent bedtime routine, such as setting a bedtime and wake-up time.
The most important thing is that before they go to sleep, your kids aren’t kept up by things like their favorite iPad movies. To achieve optimal sleeping quality, you are responsible for creating a comfortable and dark sleeping environment for them.
Keeping soda away before bedtime can also be beneficial. The extra sugar and caffeine from soda may also play a factor in poor sleep quality.
Keep ‘Percent Body Fat’ on track
Your children’s body weight is increasing most likely from a combination of bone growth, lean muscle development, and fat accumulation.
However, it can be challenging to tell if your kids are gaining the necessary amount of weight. Weight gain could sometimes be a result of higher body fat levels due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
💡 Most parents may believe that as long as their children do not appear to be overweight, everything is fine. However, there may be unseen risks arising in your child that are not visible to the naked eye.
This is how InBody reveals the “hidden” body fat of a child with a normal BMI.
The ideal objective should be to concentrate on bone and muscle growth rather than excess body fat. By assessing Percent Body Fat (PBF) on a regular basis with the InBody device, you will be able to determine whether your child’s lifestyle is healthy while under your care.
Parents are the biggest influence in children’s lives. They look up to you and tend to follow your lifestyle as part of their learning process.
However, simply telling them to live a healthy lifestyle may not be enough. To truly instill healthy habits in your children, you must set a good example as a parent.
Monitoring your child’s body fat and growth consistently to prevent childhood obesity will undoubtedly require some effort.
However, if you discover that your child’s body does not respond well to the effort you put in for their lifestyle changes, a consultation with your family doctor or a pediatrician will definitely be necessary. By doing so, you’ll be able to better comprehend the risks that come with childhood obesity and take measures to prevent them.