“The rise of childhood obesity has definitely placed the health of entire generation at risk”
As we all know that obesity has become an epidemic in the world. A question that comes into my mind is can babies be obese? Research supports that the seeds of childhood obesity are planted earlier but the good news is that parents can really do something to prevent this.
Irony is that, because of the mindset, parents jump in joy celebrating the birth of their chubby babies. They incorrectly relate the chubbiness to being healthy. This thought process needs to change as overweight newborns are at a greater risk of developing obesity related issues. Also overweight babies have shown to have delayed milestones.
Therefore, healthy habits and lifestyle modifications need to be instilled at birth to project health throughout a child’s life.
The following are few habits that can be introduced at an early age:-
- Formula is for racing cars:- breast milk is for babies.
Breast milk has proven to improve newborn health and promote healthy weight gain. Breastfeeding is the best formula as bottle feeding could result in over consumption.
- Rattling the plate- weaning
Infant should be introduced to solid foods when they reach the age of six months, unless developmental aspects demands suggest earlier but not before 4 months.
- Initiating baby led weaning:
This emphasizes on encouraging the babies to be self-feed. This could be inculcated by putting the food on a plate and allowing them to explore. Starting with various finger foods in the form of boiled carrots, potatoes and then introducing idli, khichri. Instead of fruit juices babies should be encouraged to eat fruits that are wholesome and nutritious.
It’s all about initiating the healthy food habits and encouraging the portion content. Also parents should recognize when their child is hungry and not use food as medium to calm a child. So don’t condition kids that why!
- Promoting healthy eating in school:
Children eat better when they can pick and choose from foods that are available. Parents can encourage this by packing variety in lunch boxes. Offering regular snack break for students to eat fruits, vegetables or nuts is a healthy practice. Initiate healthy options in school canteens. Packed lunches and food available in canteen should emphasis on healthy carbs like whole wheat or multigrain options e.g. wheat pasta with veggies, wheat bread rolls stuffed with sprouts, use of brown rice. We should encourage to serve whole grains, fruits and vegetables in form of well balanced meals.
- Encouraging Physical Activities:
Make sure your child gets plenty of active play time and exercise. This is important for developing strong bones and muscles and for social interactions. It is also important to restrict sedentary activities like watching TV, computer, videogames and limiting it to ½-1 hr a day.
- Be a role model:
One of the greatest influences on child behavior is the actions of the adults around them. There is no doubt that the millions are spent on marketing junk food to lure the children.
However, the social environment created by adults and the lifestyle choice that we practice greatly influence how our little ones live their lives. Lifestyle habits are established at a young age. The food with which we are most familiar and comfortable in eating, also the acceptance of exercise plays a positive role in helping our kids to make the right choices.
Encouraging our kids to adopt healthier choices could be possible only when we also practice what we reach.
So fighting obesity requires radical mindset, which we can help our kids to develop.
“It’s not that obesity runs in your family. It’s that when no one runs in the family”