6 Ways Parents Can Combat Childhood Obesity

African American parents teaching daughter to ride a bicycle

Keep your kids fit and healthy for a lifetime. (It's easier than you think.)

Good news: According to ABC News, [t]he prevalence of obesity ... among young U.S. children seems to be on the decline. So, how can parents help keep up this positive trend? Here are a few helpful tips to encourage your kids to be healthy and active:

1. Keep exercise convenient, inexpensive and unconventional. You don't need to change around your life in order to accommodate extra activity for your kids. Look for what is nearby and affordable and fun. For example, try roller skates, a hula hoop, stilts, a swing, a pogo stick and/or a small trampoline. These may seem old-fashioned, but they're enjoyable and they reinforce the notion that small activities throughout the day are just as valuable as prolonged exercise when it comes to physical health.

2. Talk to your children about being healthy. Teach your kids that healthy living is an integral part of a happy life. Depending on their age, you can either talk to them or simply demonstrate small habits, like the importance of daily hygiene, tidy surroundings, home cooking, meal times together or no snacking while watching TV. Also remeber that food is for nutrition; it's not a reward.

3. Remember, weight is a sensitive subject. So, use discretion when talking to a child or adolescent about being overweight or obese. It is important to distinguish between the person and the weight. Low self-esteem can come from a bad self-image, and if the parents suggest that "you are your weight," or that being heavy makes you less valuable as a person, then the child has two problems instead of just one.

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