Obesity among adolescents and children has long been rampant in the U.S., a reason why healthy eating is a major concern being addressed by U.S. agencies. Today, statistics show that approximately 17% of the children in the country are obese. Not only does obesity have an impact on physical wellbeing but also on cardiovascular health and mental soundness.
With obesity becoming more and more common among American children, studies are conducted in order to identify factors that increase the proneness of a child for such a condition. Although experts are still unsure on all of the risk factors connected to obesity, researchers maintain that prevention rather than cure is the better alternative to this health problem.
The US Department of Agriculture collaborated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in providing guidelines that parents can use as healthy food guides when selecting meals to prepare for children starting at age 2 and older. Called the MyPlate program, the guideline is divided into 5 food group categories, namely: grain, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein with emphasis on nutritional intakes for each category.
Johns Hopkins Medicine Publishes Guidelines in Preventing Child Obesity at Early Age
The Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) of Johns Hopkins University, on the other hand, gives focus not only in educating children and family about healthy eating as primary method in preventing obesity. JHM recommends practicing proper exercise and diet in children at an early age.
Secondary prevention is when obesity is already a problem to which decreasing the effects of childhood obesity is addressed by practicing healthy eating habits as a way to solve obesity-related problems .
Whether at the early stage or when obesity is already a full-blown issue, JHM recommends the following steps as both primary and secondary prevention methods:
1. Eating a healthy diet should be inculcated in children at an early age and its best if the entire family is into healthy eating. However, it is important to inquire with your child’s health care provider before making any changes in their meals.
2. Make sure you and the entire family eat three balanced meals everyday, which may include eating healthy snacks in between, especially for highly active teenagers.
Lessen the use of salt, butter and heavy gravies, while increasing fiber-rich foods, chicken, and fish in meals
3. Cook meals according to the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services MyPlate recommendations.
4. Every member of the family should avoid drinks packed with sugar and instead, drink more water. When craving for juices, whole natural fruit juice is better that drinking processed fruit juice products as they have more calories. In the meantime, it’s important to monitor sugar intakes as too much can cause other health concerns.
What about Dieting as the Secondary Prevention Method of Teenage Girls
Nowadays, healthy eating should also be a concern among teenage girls who are inclined to starve themselves as a way to address their childhood obesity. Parents must still make sure that their young girl’s diet regimen still meets the dietary requirements recommended for the five food groups. Don’t discourage your child, just make sure her eating habits will not lead to more serious health problems, including mental wellness.
Often times, young adolescents also face social problems as a result of their obese form When teenage girls with obesity problem tend to double down on their diet to achieve faster results, volunteer to supervise their meals and engage them in physical activities to make them feel they are not alone in their weight-loss goals.
This coming Christmas, renew your teenage girl’s interest in riding bikes by buying her a new bike, or teach her how to primp up by gifting her with curling rods or a manicure set. Let her know that she is loved and that you as parents will support and watch as she grows up to become a beautiful young lady. To learn more about our gift suggestions, read curated product reviews featured in our medium playtime blog pages.