It’s easy for kids to gain weight – and hard for them to lose it. Even when parents are pushing them to eat healthy, avoid junk food, and exercise. Why? Because there are temptations and stumbling blocks everywhere.
Studies show that more than one-third of kids, tweens and teens are overweight or obese. And according to the CDC, obese young people are more likely to suffer from a lot of serious health problems - from heart disease, to cancer. Studies also show that overweight children are often isolated and bullied by their peers and that most obese children grow up to be obese adults.
So, why is to so hard for kids to live a healthy lifestyle? Experts point out that they’re bombarded from all sides. They see hundreds of TV ads for fast food. At school, they’re surrounded by vending machines, and cafeterias with pizza buffets, and endless desserts. And kids are often rewarded with donuts or cupcakes after soccer practice.
And there are plenty of obstacles on the exercise front, too. After all, plenty of today’s kids are growing up in neighborhoods without sidewalks and parks, which means, no going outside to play. And they’re getting more of their entertainment from computers and smartphones.
How can we make it easier for kids to make healthy choices? Help your kids understand that children who lose weight are less likely to gain it back than teenagers or adults. Because their bodies aren’t used to long-term weight gain. Bottom line: As hard as it is to make a change at age 10, it's that much harder at 30 or 40.
Also, encourage them to bring their own healthy lunch to school. And be a good role model. Studies show that kids whose parents eat healthy, watch their weight, and exercise are more likely to copy that behavior, even when they’re away from home.