Knowing the Risk Factors for Overweight Children

We all know childhood obesity has become an epidemic, but do you know the reasons why? From reasons such as being overweight parents or feeding your kids the wrong types of foods, Truestar is here to share the information you need to know to keep your kids healthy.

According to data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, over 1/3 of Canadian children aged 2 to11 are overweight, and of these, about half could be considered obese. Many people blame the increased consumption of fast-food, larger portion sizes, poor lunch and snack choices, decreased physical activity and lack of attention from parents for the increase in childhood obesity.

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics offered new insight into some of the reasons why children become overweight. The findings included:

Having overweight parents gave children a 49% chance of becoming overweight too.
Children with highly emotional temperaments, which was characterized as an active personality with high levels of anger/frustration.
Parents who had low concerns about their children’s thinness.
Children who had frequent tantrums over food, which may have caused parents to give their children extra food and calories to decrease the tantrums.
Children who slept less during the day. In fact, children who later became overweight were found to sleep about 30 minutes less during the day than non-overweight children.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Here are some healthy lifestyle tips parents should follow to keep their kids fit and healthy:

Give healthy snacks. If your child has frequent tantrums over foods, like wanting to eat junk food, learn not to give in and provide healthier snacks like baked chips and salsa, fresh fruit or low-fat cheese and crackers. See Truestar Kid’s Meal Plans for more healthy snacks.
Get kids moving. Statistics show that children spend an average of three to five hours per day sedentary, in front of the TV or computer. We need to move kids away from the TV and computer and get them active! Enrol your kids in after-school sports, get them on the Truestar for Kids Exercise Program or plan family activities such as walking or bike riding.
Parents take responsibility. Parents need to take responsibility for their children's health and make healthy eating a lifelong practice inside and outside of the home. Teach your children that there are no good or bad foods, rather that it’s all about moderation—how much and how often.
Eat as a family. Eating meals as a family models healthy eating behaviours. Studies show that children are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables and wholesome foods if their parents do. Also, families who eat together tend to eat slower and consume smaller portions.

Bottom Line
To raise a healthy child for a healthy future, utilize Truestar's Health Plan -- a healthy diet, supplements, exercise, sleep and attitude -- all play an important role in your child's health.