How to prevent obesity in children?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is when the body carries extra fat than the normal level. The estimated global obesity rate in children is around 20% and the trend is increasing. The problem of obesity whether in children or in adults is that it has some bad effects on the health of our heart, liver and many other organs in our body. It’s always easier to try to prevent gaining some extra weight than to lose the extra weight. In today’s article, we are going to talk about 5 simple tips to prevent obesity in children.

1. Control your sugar intake during pregnancy. This might sound weird, yet the very first thing that you need to bear in mind is that what you eat, your baby eats it too. So, if your baby is used to a high sugar intake diet during pregnancy, then most probably he/she will prefer sugary food more than anything else after birth.

2. Breastfeed your baby as much as you can for at least his/her first six months. Recent scientific studies have shown that breastmilk promotes a healthy metabolism in babies compared to formula milk. The positive effect of breast milk on children’s metabolism can last for 6 years. The longer you breastfeed, the lower are the risks of your child to be obese in the future.

3. Do some physical exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. In young kids, it might be a bit difficult to encourage them to move with all the screens at home, especially if they do not do any after-school activity. However, if you block 30 minutes at night from your daily schedule to do some sports, your little one will start imitating you. Another benefit of this, is that you will spend some good quality time with your little one.

4. Avoid buying soft drinks, commercial juices, sugar and candies. If all these stuffs are in the house, your kid will think subconsciously that it’s normal and healthy to eat/drink all these sugars’ rich food. Use alternatives in your house for these commercial high sugar foods. For example, you can press some fresh oranges with your little kid instead of buying a ready-made juice bottle or even a soft drink can from the supermarket. Want to sooth your sweet tooth? Use honey instead of sugar. Eat some naturally sweet fruits as desert instead of candies like strawberries, mango or pineapple.

5. Go to bed early and sleep well. Recent studies have shown that from the age of 2 years, children going to bed later than 9:00 PM are at higher risk of being obese than children sleeping before 9:00 PM. Studies have also shown that the more your kids sleep the lower are the risks for them to become obese. This is because sleep helps a healthy regulation of your child’s metabolism.

Applying these simple tips in your daily routine might be difficult at the beginning, however their benefits are remarkable. These tips won’t only prevent your child from becoming obese. It will also help him/her have a healthy lifestyle on the long-term.

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Dr. Reem Khalaf Bachelor of Pharmacy and Biotechnology (German University in Cairo) instagram account : babychef_eg
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