Tag Archives: sleep

Three Simple Tips for Preventing Obesity in Kids

I am always skeptical of easy fixes.
If a diet or a product or a book claims that they will have astounding results with little pain, my first instinct is to run in the other direction.
However, a study that will be published in March in the journal Pediatrics looks at risk factors for obesity and has three simple bits of advice that I think are worth following.
1)  Eat with your family.
2)  Decrease TV time.
3)  Get more sleep. 

Simple, right?
But are these recommendations really so simple? If so, why aren’t we all doing them?
Our lives are busy and some families do have difficulty intergrating consistent mealtimes during a week filled with work and kids activities.
Parents allow their children to watch a lot of TV and playing video games and spend hours on the computer for a variety of reasons, including their children’s insistence and their fatigue at fighting and limit setting.
And bedtimes creep later when kids fight and scream and yell and refuse to go to bed, and parents just don’t have the energy to fight it.
But making little steps towards these goals can really be a game changer for your family, and for your kids health now and in the future.  According to one of the authors of the Pediatrics study, children who practiced all three of these behaviors had a 40% lower risk of obesity than those who did not.
So try it.
This week, eat one more meal with your family than you usually do.
Make some rules for kids about “screen time”. And enforce them. Every time.

And put your kids to bed earlier: maybe start 15 minutes earlier, and go from there.

And while you’re at it, put yourself to bed a little earlier too.  Sweet dreams….
Tips for parents:
To keep your family healthy and decrease your risk of obesity:
  • Eat family meals together more than five times a week.
  • Limit your children to no more than 1 hour of screen time on weekdays, and less than 2 hours on weekends.
  • Aim for 10 1/2 hours of sleep for young and school-aged children.

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