It’s Childhood Obesity Month: An Expert Weighs in on How to Avoid it

The rates of children getting Type 2 diabetes are rising, and it's associated with higher rates of childhood obesity. But illness is not the only side affect of obesity; children are also at risk of lower self-esteem, more social isolation, and depression.

Dietician Trish Brimhall (RDN, CD, CLE) says there are many factors that contribute to childhood weight gain.

  • Nutrition and food choice
  • Environment at home
  • Genetics
  • Inactivity
  • Lack of access to healthful foods and facilities
  • Early exposure to diet culture

She says some of the positive ways you can improve the health of your children is to model healthy behaviors. Encouraging children to adopt healthy habits is futile unless you are willing to incorporate them yourself.

  • Cut down on processed and fast foods.
  • Keep produce on hand for meals and snacks.
  • Make water your go-to beverage.
  • Unplug and get moving.
  • Watch what you say about your body shape, size and weight as well as your child`s.
  • Do not diet (dieting is the most consistent predictor of weight gain).
  • Keep a healthy relationship with food by embracing balance and avoiding extremes.

Brimhall adds that it's important to remember that above all else, the longest relationships your child will have are their relationships with food and with their body image. Guard that carefully and help them understand that healthy isn`t a one-size-fits all picture. Healthy kids come in all shapes and sizes!

You can find more advice from Brimhall at www.nutritiousintent.com.