How to Buck the Obesity Trend: Tips for Raising Fit Kids

By Lisa B. Samalonis

Given the rising rates of obesity among American children,
keeping kids healthy and fit is a priority for many parents.
Follow these suggestions for turning good intentions into good practices.

Many ideas seem great in theory, but the challenge is turning good ideas into
good practices—and good practices need to begin with the parents.
“Developing healthy eating and activity habits is a family issue,” says pediatrician
Dr. Mary L. Gavin, lead author of the comprehensive book Fit Kids.
“Parents are not only the primary gatekeepers of the family food supply,
but they should also lead by example.”
Dr. Gavin and other children’s health and fitness experts say that there are many
small lifestyle changes that parents can make now to help their children stay healthy
and avoid obesity later in life.
Assessing Health

Dr. Gavin suggests that parents take a good, hard look at your child’s eating and exercising habits.
Does my child eat fruit and vegetables every day?
Does my child eat a variety of foods, including dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy sources of protein?
Does my child usually eat only when hungry, not to relieve stress or boredom?
Does my child try new foods?
Does my child get physical activity every day?
Does my child enjoy being active?
Does my child like his or her body?
Does my child have access at home to a variety of sports and activity equipment, such as balls, bicycles, jump ropes, and athletic shoes?

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