Child obesity is an epidemic that is attempting to destroy the very fabric of our society today, especially in the Western world. It is estimated that 60% of American children are obese. A recent World Health Organization report estimates that over 14 million Children in the EU are overweight with about 3 million of that figure Obese. It is pretty clear that if urgent action is not taken to curb this statistics, most children will die before reaching adulthood.
Governments are trying to initiate programs to control this 'disease'. Teachers are under pressure to ensure children under their care are well looked after. I'm however of the view that Parents are the most influential figures who can drastically curb this growing trend once they assume their responsibility in nurturing their children in the right path.
It is common knowledge that the 2 most common causes of child obesity are excessive eating of the wrong foods and lack of exercise. The influence of parents in reversing these causes of child obesity cannot be overemphasised. The following are ways parents can influence their children in the area of right food choices and getting them involved in exercises.
- Control what your children eat. Don't allow their tantrums to sway you to give in to their demands. Bye all means, let them have the sweeties occasionally but ensure their diet is balanced. When you insist on the right foods in their youth, they will not depart from it when they grow older.
- Let the lines of authority be established very early. You are the boss and it must remain so. Don't pamper them into obesity. Love should be tough at times. In a loving but firm way, they should stick to eating patterns you've established.
- Encourage them to be active. Too much of video games and computer games must be discouraged. Let them cycle, walk or join a sports club to enable them maintain an active lifestyle. Make time to be with them during these physical activities.Your presence is a strong message affirming your interest in their wellbeing.
In today's western society where so many things are competing for the child's attention, It is imperative that parents are not found wanting when it comes to raising their children with proper values in the area of diet and exercise. Parents need to be tough as well as tender, easy to be around but firm. A combination of these values will ensure the raising of well grounded children in spite of the challenges. As the bible says .. Train up a child in the way he should go and when he's grown, he will not depart from it.