(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)
THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Childhood obesity can be curtailed by limiting how much junk food children eat and by increasing their activity levels, says a Wake Forest University School of Medicine nutritionist and registered dietician.
If your children eat a bit of junk food one or two times a week, there's no need to worry. But if it's a regular habit, then you need to start slowly changing that habit as soon as possible, Mara Z. Vitolins says in a news release.
She suggests a number of steps that parents can take to help their children eat healthier foods. Don't buy junk food, even for yourself. Parents need to set the standard of healthy eating in the home, Vitolins says.
Make sure you have fruits and vegetables cut and ready to eat as snacks. Children won't take the time to wash and cut fruits and vegetables.
Let your children select a healthy food to try. Many times children won't even try healthy foods because they weren't involved in selecting the foods, Vitolins says.
Improving diet isn't the only way change necessary in fighting childhood obesity. Children also need to get more active. Vitolins offers these suggestions for parents:
- Reward good behavior with trips to the park, rather than with snacks.
- Engage your entire family in regular physical activity.
- Set limits on the amount of television your family watches. If the television is turned off, it's more likely your children will go outside and play.
- Limit the amount of times your children spend playing computer games or surfing the Internet. .
Here's where you can learn more about childhood obesity.