Kids Get Fit: The Care & Feeding of Healthy Kids

The early introduction to overly sweet and nutrient devoid foodstuffs sets you and your baby up for a lifetime struggle of refusing healthful foods in favor of sugary treats. First the struggle is to get them to eat, “Come on honey, just one more bite for mommy,” then the struggle begins to get them to stop, “No, honey, you can’t have another cookie.”

Children that are not given sugar during infancy have a greater resistance to disease and are less likely to become sugar addicts in later life. For your sake and theirs, wait to introduce your babies to processed foods, and especially “fast foods.”

Overweight Kids – Don’t Be Too Hasty In Restricting Their Eating

Kids learn to overeat at an early age. Cookies and candy are offered instead of hugs when the child falls and skins his knee or gets his feelings hurt. Food like gooey sweet treats are offered as a reward for good behavior, instead of a small toy, trip to the zoo or park or special favors.

Once a fondness for sweets sets in, it’s difficult to change. Many kids are much less active than in previous generations. TV watching, the Internet, Nintendo and PlayStation have all contributed to the “coach potato” lifestyle. This general lack of exercise and excess food consumption turns our kids into overweight and even obese teens and adults.

So what do most parents do when they realize their kids are getting too fat? They put them on the same dangerous fad diets they’ve tried themselves. Popular diets (“fad diets”) are proven ineffective, they simply don’t work. Restrictive dieting for children can be outright dangerous and should be avoided in nearly all circumstances.

Children Need Good Nutrition

Children need good nutrition, meaning a clean diet. The occasional treat is fine but a diet that is primarily based on fast foods, chips, sodas, and hot-dogs is not going to provide adequate nutrition for their growing bodies and minds.

The worst thing that a parent can do is give unrestricted junk foods during infancy and the toddler years, then suddenly restrict a child’s foods and choice, or refuse a child enough to eat in the name of “dieting.” That is a sure fire way to set up a youngster for an eating disorder, or at best a mistrust of their receiving the basic necessities of life such as love and nurturing.

Restrictive Diets Dangerous for Very Young

Placing a very young child on a diet is dangerous. It places the child’s most basic biological needs at risk, i.e. not feeding a hungry child is an emotional trauma. A recent report by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) indicated that very young children (0 – 7 years of age) should not be placed on “diets” but rather should be on a program to maintain their weight, thereby decreasing their overall fat percentage as they grow.

If your child is obese, meaning more than 30% over their ideal weight (and ideal weight is difficult to measure in a child as they are of such varied sizes and shapes), then rather than providing less to eat, instead encourage more movement. Exercise will make the difference. Get the kids up off the couch and moving.

Get Out and Play

Play outdoor sports with them, organize play groups, build or visit a playground. Encourage your kids to race, jump, ride bikes. You get the idea? When I was young we would ride our bikes up and down the street for hours, nearly every day. We climbed trees and played on the swings. Obviously all children don’t have nice backyards in which to play, but most neighborhoods have some type of facility. Check your yellow pages or even call your local Chamber of Commerce.

Get yourself and your kids out to play.