Thursday, 10 May 2012

Healthy Beverage Choice to prevent Childhood Obesity


 How serious is Childhood Obesity?
The increasing number of childhood obesity cases is a cause of concern in many families globally.A recent survey says that the number of childhood obesity cases have almost tripled in the last 30 years.Obese children and adolescents are at a high risk of developing long term health problems later in life.In addition to major health problems,obese or overweight children may also have problems with their emotional health like low self-confidence and self-esteem which can lead to diminished academic performance and sometimes depression.
Parents must help children understand that just like food,our choice of beverage can affect our health and nutritional intake. Consuming healthy food and beverages in moderation can help children live a balanced lifestyle.
Why are Beverages added with sugar Unhealthy?
  • High intake of beverages sweetened with sugar not only causes obesity but it also lowers the intake of certain important nutrients like vitamin A,magnesium and calcium.Low levels of calcium can cause weakened bones in children and even lead to osteoporosis later in life.
  • Too much sugary drinks also causes dental problems like tooth decay and cavities.
Easy and Healthy Beverage Options for Young Children
  • Water-Water is the perfect beverage for children.Whether pain or flavored,it keeps children hydrated and also helps to fill them up.
Ideas to encourage children drink more water
-Children imitate what adults do.If you drink plenty of water so will your children.
-Give children fresh lime or lemon juice.(see recipe in summer coolers for children post).
-Always encourage children to carry water bottles with them.
  • Milk-Milk is the next best beverage option.It contains calcium which is good for your child's bones.Consider giving low-fat or fat-free milk.Soy milk is a good alternative to cow's milk.Give children plain milk, but you can occasionally give them flavored milk like chocolate milk.
Tips to encourage children drink milk everyday
  • A glass of refreshing cold milk for breakfast is a good option.
  • Make delicious smoothies with the your child's favorite fruit.Try to control the amount of sugar.Honey is a great natural sweetness.
  • Vegetable Juice -They are an excellent source of antioxidants,fiber and essential nutrients.Carrot juice and tomato juice are some good choices.

  • 100% Fruit Juice-Give children a glass of 100% fruit juice instead of fruit drinks.You can add honey to sweeten the juice but no sugar please.Remember to put limit on juices by following the recommended limits for children
-Infants-No juice
-6months to1year-2to3 ounces per day
-1year to 5 years-4to6 ounces per day
-5years and above-not more than 8 to12ounces per day

 As your child grows up talk to him about his likes and dislikes and explain why he should avoid sugary drinks.Don't forget to treat him for the healthy choices he makes.
Making small changes in lifestyle and instilling healthy habits from an early age will help your child make better and healthy beverage choices in future.

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