Listen up parents! Did you know that 35 percent of kids ages 6-to-17 are overweight. That’s about one in every three kids! It can lead to depression, heart disease and diabetes, but don’t panic. Fitness experts tell Newsweek magazine that it’s really EASY to avoid all these problems and have healthy, happy kids instead. How? By avoiding the worst kid health mistakes:
- Mistake #1: Letting your kids eat while watching TV. They get distracted by what they’re watching and don’t realize they’re full, and they end up over-eating. The same thing happens to adults. So make them eat at the dinner table. According to kid-fitness expert Kimberly Malasky it’s not only a better way to control HOW MUCH they eat, it’s also quality family time.
- Mistake #2: Having cupboards filled with high-salt and sugary snacks like chips and cookies. It’s a fact that kids will grab whatever’s easy – even if it’s healthy snacks. So, make it easy for kids to grab good things by stocking your fridge with Tupperware containers filled with sliced fruit, cut-up vegetables and cheese, all at kids’-eye level. If you put healthy foods front and center – or make them more noticeable – like on a platter, people are much more likely to eat them.
- Mistake #3: Forcing your kids to eat foods they don’t like. Do that and they’ll hate it for life. Instead, if you’ve got a picky eater, try the “two-bite, all right” technique. Fitness consultant Debi Pillarella suggests offering new foods to picky eaters by telling them they ONLY need to try two bites; they’ll be more likely to give it a try. It’s a fact, kids need to try new foods a DOZEN times before they’ll develop a taste for it.
- Mistake #4: Being a bad role model. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia found that kids who play outside for 20-to-40 minutes a day are happier and do better in school. So rather than settle down in front of the TV after dinner, join your kids on a bike ride and get some exercise. Set a great example for your kids with your eating and exercising habits and they’ll be more likely to adopt healthy habits themselves.