Childhood overweight and obesity is a significant health problem facing families today and many parents feel overwhelmed by the problem and don't know where to start. This is completely understandable given the complexities associated with the causes and treatments of this condition. However, there is a great deal that families can do to promote healthy active living and support each other in staying healthy. For instance, families can focus on creating a home environment that encourages and supports healthy choices, regularly communicate with their doctors to understand family members' BMI percentiles, and/or partner in the community to advocate for healthy communities and schools.
The scientific community agrees that each one of the following can positively impact overweight and obesity in children and/or adolescents.
- Eat 5 fruits and vegetables per day
- Get 1 hour of physical activity a day (does not need to be consecutive)
- Limit screen time to less than 2 hours a day
- Limit consumption of sugar sweetened beverages
- Eat breakfast daily
- Switch to low-fat dairy products
- Regularly eat family meals together
- Limit fast food, take out, and eating out
- Prepare foods at home as a family
- Eat a diet rich in calcium
- Eat a high fiber diet
- Breastfeed exclusively until 6 months and maintenance of breastfeeding after introduction of solid food until 12 months of age.
As a family you can chose one, two, three, or all of these as possible goals or actions to help support healthy active living in your home. To learn more about what you can do in your home visit What Families Can Do at Home. To partner with your pediatrician visit How to partner with your pediatrician and to learn more about how you can be an advocate for healthy active living in your community visit Partner with the Community.
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