Nearly 25 percent of U.S. kids are overweight today, double the number 30 years ago, according to the July issue of Parents magazine.
Parents should be role models for kids when it comes to eating and exercise, the magazine says. These expert strategies can help:
-- Play with your kids. Your child will be more likely to exercise if you do it with her. Take a family bike ride, toss a football in the yard, plan an afternoon hike or volunteer to coach a softball team.
-- Move the television. Don't let your child have a television in his room, and don't make it the focal point of your family room or den, advises Parents. Set up an attractive, game-filled, TV-free play space inside your home that gives your child room to stretch his legs and run around when he's indoors. Set daily limits on computer and video game use.
-- Cut the junk. Clear your kitchen of junk food, but don't ban it from your child's diet altogether, says Parents. Giving him an occasional treat -- a candy bar at the movies or a piece of cake at a party -- will help keep those foods from gaining too much significance in his eyes.
-- Push fluids. Water should always be your child's first choice. Aim for five to six glasses a day. Kids also need to drink two or three glasses of milk. Two small servings of fruit juice a day are fine, but don't overdo it. Save soda for a once-in-a-while treat.
-- Don't tolerate teasing. If your child is being teased about her weight in a school or by kids in the neighborhood, take action. It is your responsibility to talk to the teacher, parents or coaches who are allowing this behavior to continue.
-- Make meals fun. To get your child interested in eating right, get her involved. Take her shopping with you and teach her how to read food labels. Ask her to toss a salad or help you bake lowfat muffins.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.