Skip to Main Content
WarrenShepell logo and header
Individuals Organizations About Us WarrenShepell Research Group Resource Centre Contact Us
ws empowernet
Employer Login
HealthQuest Articles
Balancing Act

Balancing Act Archives
August, 2006: Family Snack Smarts
July, 2006: Cooperative Co-parenting
June, 2006: Street Proofing Teens 101
May, 2006: Harmony is in season: Harmony is in season: Warm Weather Activities To Bring The Family Together
April, 2006: Caregiving: Sensible Steps To Success
March, 2006: Healthy Eating In A Fast Food World
February, 2006: Stress Busters to Stay Lighthearted
January, 2006: Brain Gain in Life's Later Years
December, 2005: Holiday Budget Planning
November, 2005: Combating Childhood Obesity
October, 2005: Eating Away at Colds and Flu
September, 2005: Avoiding the Aches of Osteoarthritis
August, 2005: Growing Older, Eating Wiser
July, 2005: Nutrition Tips for the Healthiest Summer Ever
June, 2005: Long-Term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes - How Do I Choose the Right One?
May, 2005: Nutrition and Your Baby: Introducing solid food to the menu
April, 2005: When Baby Comes Home For The First Time
March, 2005: Stepping into the Role of Stepparent
February, 2005: Pumping Fitness into Your Day
* January, 2005: Remedies for Financial Holiday Hangovers
* December, 2004: Time Out: Making the most of the holidays
* November, 2004: An Ounce of Prevention: Type 2 Diabetes
* October, 2004: Dealing with Peer Pressure
* September, 2004: Long Distance Caregiving
* August, 2004: The ‘Be-tween’ Transition, 2004
* July, 2004: Easing into summer vacation
* June, 2004: A family-friendly balance for working fathers
* May, 2004: Communication Tips to Help Young Minds Grow
* April, 2004: Tips for Making the Tax Season Less Taxing
* March, 2004: The Dieting Merry-Go-Round
* February, 2004: Keeping Your Financial Future in Check
* January, 2004: Here Comes the Flu
* December, 2003: Communicating with your Teen
* November, 2003: Eating for Energy
* October, 2003: Work-life Balance: Making it Work for You
* September, 2003: The Homework Zone
* August, 2003: Health Hints to Ease Your Family in to the Fall Season
* July, 2003: Stay Alert and Stay Safe - Streetproofing your kids
* June, 2003: Summer Activities for Stay-at-Home Kids
* May, 2003: Helping Older Relatives Stay Active
* April, 2003: Spring-cleaning: For the home, the family, and you
* March, 2003: Choosing a Summer Camp
* February, 2003: Baby couch potatoes: Tearing your kids away from the TV
* January, 2003: Resolution Solutions
* December, 2002: Holiday Stress Blasters
* November, 2002: Beating the Winter Blues
* October, 2002: Making the most of family mealtimes
* September, 2002: Generation Relations
* August 2002: Vacation Relaxation
* July 2002: Swimming Safety
* May 2002: Stuck in the Middle. The Sandwich Generation
* April, 2002: Supporting Your Child's Social Success
* March, 2002: After the Spring Break ... Take a Break For Yourself
* February, 2002: Keep those loving connections alive
* January, 2002: Ringing in a Balanced New Year
* December, 2001: Holiday Safety Tips
* November, 2001: It's Flu Season
* October, 2001: Halloween Safety Tips
* September, 2001: Back to school

The Balancing Act. Work/Life balance tips Printer Friendly Version
Combating Childhood Obesity

The rise of childhood obesity is nothing short of serious. As kids continue to grow in size, so do their mental and physical health complications: from ballooning rates of ‘adult’ health problems like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, to low-self esteem issues and a greater risk of childhood depression.

Help the whole family learn to make healthier lifestyle choices with the tips below.

Weigh in. Calculating a child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) is more complicated than it is for adults. The best way to determine whether your child’s weight is on track for their age, height and bone structure is to get a pediatrician’s assessment. If your child is overweight or obese, work with their pediatrician to create a realistic and holistic plan of action.

Ditch diets. This may seem counterintuitive, but if diets really worked, then every North American would be at their ideal weight. Diets fail because they’re about being ‘deprived’ of ‘forbidden foods’ and usually concentrate on weight loss rather than health. Putting children on a diet can actually create a deprivation-binge battle (i.e. yo-yo dieting) that can last a lifetime. Instead, banish the word ‘diet’ from your family’s vocabulary and stay focused on helping your child make positive food and lifestyle choices.

Get moving. Children need a minimum of one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. While this wasn’t a problem 30 years ago, when hide-and-seek and hopscotch were the games of choice, many kids today would rather cozy up to a DVD or video game. Unplug the electronics and encourage kids to get back to the play basics of outdoor activities. ‘Sneak in’ physical activities: walk children to school instead of driving, or ride your bikes to the store. Both you and your kids will reap the healthy rewards of regular exercise.

Keep it fun. If your children are bored stiff by baseball, don’t force them to be the next Babe Ruth. Instead, let kids take the lead when choosing activities. Many enjoy getting in the game with organized sports like hockey, soccer and basketball. Encourage children who don’t take to team sports to explore less competitive activities like cycling, martial arts or hiking.

Be their biggest fan. Whether it’s playing in the sandbox or on the football team, be there to cheer your kids on. Attend games, recitals and activity-based open houses and praise your children’s efforts. Take pictures of your kids playing outside and hang them on the wall or fridge to reinforce that exercise is fun and rewarding.

Make fitness a family affair. There’s no doubt about it: children mimic what they see. Studies show kids of physically active parents and siblings are more likely to be active themselves. Rather than finishing off dinner with ice cream, go for a walk. Instead of hibernating indoors during the winter, get outside and build a fort or a snowman. Not only does this encourage your family to stay trim and fit, but it also helps you spend fun, quality time with your kids.

Focus on healthy eating. Rather than excluding a heavier child from eating ‘off limit’ foods, serve up healthy, well-rounded meals for the whole family. While prefab and take-out meals may be convenient, they’re often also loaded with salt, sugar and fat. Instead, invest in a quick-cook, health-conscious cookbook and get kids involved in meal preparation: from selecting the menu, to shopping, to washing vegetables.

Avoid pop at all costs as it’s loaded with sugar and calories. Instead, encourage kids to drink plenty of water and watered-down pure fruit juice (even pure fruit juice contains lots of natural sugar).

Stop force feeding. Respect when kids are full and don’t force them to clean their plate as this can lead to overeating. Rewarding or punishing with food is also a big no-no, as kids quickly learn to associate food with mood and may eventually become emotional eaters.

Stock up on healthy choices. It’s hard to encourage kids to eat healthier if the pantry is loaded with cookies, chips and other high-calorie, low nutrient foods. Choose nuts and seeds instead of chips, yogurt over ice cream, and fruit over candy.

Combating childhood obesity isn’t an easy task, especially with all the gadgets and marketing that encourage your kid to stay glued to a screen while eating the latest high-fashion junk food. But by being a healthy role model, a creative cook and an enthusiastic cheerleader, you can help your kids stay fit, well-fed and confident.

Need more information on weight management or keeping your children active? Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help with its nutrition or child care resource service. Call your EAP to see if you are eligible at: 1 800.387.4765 for service in English, 1 800.361.5676 for service in French.

This newsletter is meant for informational purposes only and may not necessarily represent the views of individual organizations.

Printer Friendly Version

© 2005 WarrenShepell