In December 2011, it was announced that Oklahoma had dropped to 48th in the nation for state health. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, contributing to this low score are a number of factors, including a high percentage of children living in poverty and an increase in obesity rates.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, studies show that an obese 10 – 13 year old child has an 80 percent greater chance of becoming an obese adult than a non-obese child of the same age. Children of obese parents have the same increased risk. Obesity has been shown to lead to increased rates of depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and breathing problems.
How can you help your kids fight obesity?
- Consult your child’s pediatrician for advice about creating a healthy eating and exercise plan.
- Eat meals together as a family and limit snacking.
- Know the foods your child eats at school and what type of physical activity your child participates in.
- Model appropriate behavior by choosing healthful options over foods with questionable nutritional value.
- Avoid using food as a reward or punishment for behavior.
- Learn about healthful eating together through research.
- Let your children be responsible for their food choices by offering a variety of healthful options, but be wary of making any foods off-limits. Teach your children that all foods can be acceptable in moderation.
To learn more about guidelines for healthy eating, check out the the MyPlate and You books (Capstone, $6 each) which provide information about the basic food groups, plus fun facts about eating, exercise and good nutrition.