Top ten tips to prevent childhood obesity


Last updated 2/1/2007 at Noon

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in the US, with more than nine million children over the age of 6 now classified as obese. The California Association for Nurse Practitioners offers the following tips to encourage healthy lifestyles for children.

1. Educate yourself. Talk to your healthcare provider and seek out articles about eating healthy and keeping you and your kids healthy and active.

2. Make meals a family affair. Include your kids in cooking healthy meals to set a precedent of healthy eating.

3. Be prepared. Especially with smaller children, have healthy snacks on hand. It could be the difference between fast food and Cheerios and a banana.

4. Monitor your children. Take measurements of your children as they grow. Keep tabs on their growth and weight gain and compare to normal standards to catch a weight problem at its start.

5. Know your serving sizes. Many people don’t look at the serving sizes on the back of the products they consume. While you might think a 20-ounce soda is 100 calories, it is actually 250!

6. Avoid sweetened beverages. Make sure that children are consuming adequate water and 100-percent fruit juice; sweetened soft drinks provide no vitamins or healthy antioxidants and should be avoided by adults as well as children.

7. Limit prepackaged foods. Many convenience items such as frozen breakfasts and prepackaged lunches are high in preservatives and artificial additives. Take the time to prepare your children healthy foods, not easy foods that lack proper nutrition.

8. Limit TV and video games. The amount of time that kids spend watching TV or playing video games should not exceed two hours a day.

9. Get them out of the house. Enroll your kids in sports to maintain an active lifestyle. If your child dislikes sports, there are many clubs that can keep kids active, like dance, fencing and even acting!

10. Don’t force your kids to eat. Set specific meal and snack times, but let your children learn what makes them feel satisfied, not full to the brim. Doing so can prevent chronic overeating in the future.


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