Why More Kids are Overeating and What Parents Can Do About It

Many parents do not have the luxury of time to constantly monitor their kids: especially what they eat and how much. Also, many are too busy making a living to cook healthy home-cooked meals so they simply take their kids to fast foods or order take-out. The fast food culture prey largely on kids because they are the biggest demographic that fall prey to the high-cholesterol fat-laden food that these joint sell. The documentary “Supersize Me” on the fast food culture of US showed how children have become so inundated with fast food advertisements that children from ages two to six know all the mascots, slogans and songs of all major fast food joints before they learn the national anthem. The centers for disease control and prevention offer this rather disturbing statistic: 1 out of every 5 kids in America is obese, and more of them are overeaters.

Other factors contribute to the prevalence of obesity and overeating in children. Modern technology has introduced a plethora of video games and gadgets that does not require physical activity and these make kids more lethargic. Kids may also respond to stress by overeating. Families that are undergoing through financial distress, parents who are separating or problems in school may be particularly hard on kids on are still on the process of developing coping mechanisms for problems.

Mother and daughter shopping for fresh produceQuick Tips To Help Your Kids Learn Healthier Eating Habits:

  • Get Rid of the Junk – Just reducing accessibility to junk food can help. If it’s processed and unhealthy—throw it out!
  • Replace the Junk Food that you threw away in step one, with healthier alternatives
  • Show your kids that healthy foods, can taste delicious, you don’t have to just eat broccoli all day
  • Have kids help you in the kitchen by making their own snacks: try whole wheat tortillas and some low-fat mozzarella cheese for a low-fat and filling after school snack
  • Apple slices with low-fat mozzarella cheese that has been placed in the broiler for a few minutes is also both delicious and filling
  • Take a few hours to make a list of healthy snacks and then look up the nutrition information together and make stickers or a flyer to put on the refrigerator so that kids will have a visual to remind them what to eat when they are hungry
  • Encourage walks after dinner as a family. Get moving more
  • By making small changes every day your kids will start feeling better as they begin to change their eating habits.
  • Limit the hours spent behind the computer or a TV
  • Show your kids proper portion sizes, make games out of being able to guess the right portion size
  • Bring your kids to the store and show them how to make good shopping decisions regarding healthy food choices

School is one of the most common source of problems for kids aside from domestic ones. Going through school is a very volatile time for kids as they struggle with their identity and look for ways to belong. Trying to relate to other peers  may be especially hard on children who do not immediately fit the norm. Eating is a normal response to stress for children however it can lead to overeating which eventually leads to obesity.

How can parents tell if their children are having weight problems? Well kids don’t have to look fat to be overweight. One commonly suggested way to check is to use the BMI index. The BMI index is a way to measure the child’s weight and whether or not it is ideal for his age and height.

Another indicator would be the child’s behavior. Parents must take time to observes their children’s attitude towards food. Preference towards unhealthy food choices which children are prone to have must be curbed not by depriving them (since feelings of deprivation can also push them to binge eat) but by regulation and by making them understand the value of nutrition and having a balanced diet.

It is vital that overeating is addressed as early as possible as obesity is children make them susceptible to obesity-related problems. Obesity that started in childhood often has more disastrous effects to the system than when weight problems than started in adulthood. Also, parents must remember that since children often just reflect what they see in their parents, when it comes to eating healthy set a good example for your child —walk the walk yourself and this can lead to healthier eating for the entire family.