Are you worried that your child may be joining the ranks of obese toddlers? There’s an obesity epidemic in our country today, and it is affecting people in all walks of life. No one is exempt: old people, middle aged, young—or even toddlers.
obese and overweight toddlers are likely to grow up into obese children and on into obese adults, so it’s important to work on your child’s weight issues now.
There are a number of possible causes of obesity in toddlers. Your child might have a genetic tendency toward obesity, or a medical issue which makes him gain weight. This is rare, however. The primary causes of obesity in toddlers are lifestyle issues. Your toddler is probably:
• Getting too many empty calories
• Not getting enough exercise
These are lifestyle issues, and you are the one who can make the lifestyle changes that your child needs to become active and healthy.
Obese toddlers are at risk for asthma, diabetes, and a number of other health problems as they grow. Obese and overweight toddlers may also find it difficult to play team sports or do other activities that other children their age enjoy, and can easily become a victim of low self image.
Toddlerhood is a time when you are heavily involved in your child’s life, and it’s the time when you have more influence then you’ll ever have again to help your child overcome obesity and live healthily.
What can you do? Lots. But let’s start with what you shouldn’t.
• Don’t scold your child for being fat. It isn’t his fault, and putting him down won’t help anything.
• Don’t try to make your child lose weight. If he doesn’t gain weight, he’ll get as slim as he needs to be as he gets taller.
• Don’t put your child on an adult-style diet. Your toddler still needs lots of vitamins, minerals, and protein, and you should not restrict his access to healthy food.
Got that? Okay, let’s go on to what you should do:
• Do cut out all empty calories from your child’s diet. No junk food, chips, or soda. No fruit juice, even, as it has more calories than goodness.
• Try to restrict the amount of fat, butter and cream you cook with.
• Limit snacks to ultra-healthy foods like raw fruits, vegetables, and milk
• Encourage your child to be active. Play catch with him in the yard. Go on walks together. Encourage him to run, and applaud him when he does.
• Turn off the television, and go for a walk instead. Don’t take the stroller. It’ll take longer to get anywhere, but you don’t have to go quite as far.
• Try to get your toddler into a good routine, and make sure he or she gets plenty of sleep. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to obesity.
Take advantage of the closeness you have with your child during these toddler years to help give him habits that will allow him to live his life to the full, both now and as he grows.