It’s back to school time and that means the race from school to dance rehearsal to soccer practice could have your kids overextended and hungry. It is important to keep healthy snacks on hand for when they need something quick to grab. A quick trip to the drive through for a burger and fries should not be the cuisine of choice. Your kids are undoing all of the healthy benefits of their physical activity and even worse, not getting the nutrients they need to be top of their game. There is no question, even with all of the extra-curricular activities most have their kids in, childhood obesity is still on the rise.
Obesity in children continues to reach epidemic proportions. In fact, childhood obesity increased from 5 percent in 1964 to about 13 percent in 1994. Today, it is about 20 percent – and rising.
The epidemic of obesity is also prevalent in our nation’s children. The First Lady’s initiative to conquer childhood obesity is leading an effort to address this problem from both a nutrition and physical activity standpoint. Her efforts include making nutritional choices more readily available for lower income families as well as programs where physical fitness is encouraged.
But, changes can start at home to help children lead healthier lives. It is about being educated about what is healthy and carries the most nutritious value for your kids. First, it is important to keep your kids interested in sporting and recreational activities such as gymnastics and dance that require movement. This will keep their time in front of the television and computer limited. Experts recommend only two hours of “screen time” for kids a day.
Switch out snacks such as chips, pretzels and sodas for healthier alternatives such as veggies, fruit and non-sugary juices. If you’re unsure about what your kids should be eating, consult with a dietician. You may also want to check and see what is on the menu at their school, so you can help them make healthier choices.
Finally, kids learn by example so check in with your own health. Are you shoveling fries and a burger down in time to drive them to their next event?