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    Managing childhood obesity with some long-term guidelines

    submitted by Lisa James, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian, MK Plus, mkplusnewtown.com 

    In Bucks County and across the United States the health risks associated with childhood obesity are well chronicled. Despite this, a study recently published in the American Academy of Pediatrics official journal PEDIATRICS, found a significant increase in obesity and severe obesity among children, with the highest increase among children ages two- to five-years.

    Most recent numbers show one in five children are overweight or obese. The following are a few weight management guidelines aimed at long-term success.

    Plan Meal and Snack Times 

    Research repeatedly shows that children and adolescents who sit down with their families for meals do better nutritionally, academically, and emotionally. These children are less likely to be overweight, have eating disorders, substance abuse issues or engage in early sexual behavior.

    Division of Responsibility

    Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility in feeding (sDOR) encourages the parent to provide a positive experience. Offer your child a healthy variety of foods at structured meal and snack times. Your child will then decide how much and whether to eat from the foods you put on the table. You decide the what, when and where of feeding, while your child decides the how much and whether of eating.   

    Eating Competence

    Do you have a positive, joyful and relaxed attitude when it comes to food?  Competent eaters are flexible in their food choices and pay attention to internal regulators that signal when they are hungry or when they are full.  Competent eaters are proven to have more active lifestyles, better sleeping habits and nutrition related lab values like blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol. Help your child become a competent eater, by striving to be one yourself.

    Balanced, Healthy Meals

    Consume the appropriate amounts of foods from all five groups:  proteins, carbohydrates, grains, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. Restricting yourself from entire food groups and, or foods you love only triggers a chronic cycle of yo-yo dieting. Accept the challenge of long-term healthy weight loss that sticks!