Healthy Eating
childhood obesity, Healthy Eating, junk food, Obesity, Overweight Children

Here’s How You Can Change Bad Eating Habits

While children grow out of most of their bad habits, like sucking their thumbs, or picking their nose, bad eating habits, however, tend to spillover to adulthood. Changing these bad eating habits can be tough even for the best of parents. Children, in today’s day and age, are spoilt for choices when it comes to food. The easy access to processed and sugar heavy eatables has only exacerbated the obesity epidemic and has made it even more unmanageable.

Here are a few seriously bad eating habits that can cause your child problems as they grow older, and the solutions to help them overcome these issues:

Constant Snacking

Children often find solace in food, especially if they are feeling anxious, unloved or are not feeling confident. The fact that they are constantly snacking can upset their dietary schedule and increase the consumption of unhealthy foods.

How to break the habit: The best way to break the habit of nibbling constantly is to put the child on a schedule. Make sure that they have fixed snack times. Most importantly, monitor what they have for snacks closely. Things like fruits or non-sugary yoghurt are ideal. While this can be hard at first, with time it will get much easier. Filling snacks, like a protein heavy sandwich or delicious salads are a better option than sugary snacks. The most important thing, however, is to keep calorie rich sodium and sugar heavy snacks out of sight.

Sugar Addiction

Every parent knows there is nothing harder than taking chocolate away from a kid. Children love sweet stuff, there is no surprise in that. The problem is when this becomes an addiction. When children over-indulge in sugary delights, they get hyper-energetic and the crash that follows leaves them exhausted since all they have consumed is just empty calories.

How to break the habit: Make sure that you limit the number of sweets a child can have every week. There is merit in making it a reward for any form of achievements. Daily indulgences should be avoided at any cost. Try and wean them off from artificially sweetened food items to things that have fruit based flavoring or even simple fruits. The best way, however, is to educate them on the importance of self-control. Teaching them about the importance of eating right instead of simply banning sugar will go much further in helping them fight weight increase.

Anti-Veggie Behaviour

Getting a child to finish their vegetables is the only thing as hard as taking away their candy from them. It is no surprise that vegetables are an important factor in the all-round growth of the child. They are not only rich in vitamins but are also a great source of fiber which ensures good digestion and long-lasting energy.

How to break the habit: Do not pressure your child into eating the vegetables. Instead, make it a point to eat it in front of them and regularly mention how delicious they are. The child will incorporate this behavior, and over time, come around to regularly eating the vegetables.

Breaking bad food habits begins with understanding and identifying bad food habits. It is important for parents to identify their own bad food habits before they can even think of correcting their child’s similar behavior.

Healthy Eating, junk food, Overweight Children

Managing Weekend Mishaps

Very often we have a weekend, when things haven’t really gone our way when it comes to eating habits as a family.  

At Skooc, when we work with you, the idea is to make your new habits a part of your life. In the long run, will help your child reverse their obesity and become their healthiest best.

Consider.

It might seem like this was the worst thing that could happen but maybe the mistake your child made in eating could be an opportunity to understand what usually leads to such slip ups. We recommend spending some time thinking about what led your child to break their habit routine. What was the stress factor and how they responded to it. And then take a few minutes to decide what you could do to help them respond differently

Discuss.

Make the time to ask and discuss with your child how would have felt if they could respond differently and what could you have done to help them. Then, drop the subject. The worst thing we can do is to ruminate on a mistake that’s already been made.

Restrict.

What makes a slip up worse is when it is justified as a reason to make the entire day or weekend go off your habit routine. The slip-up which could have been a onetime incident could grow into a bigger problem. Isolate the incident and make the decision to go back to your habit right away at the next available opportunity.

Reward

Done all of the above? Now reward yourself with a “well-done” pat. recognizing a mistake and being able to fight guilt and low motivation levels is not at all easy, but the fact that you have started to put a process to manage this slip ups means you are working on making yourself stronger in your new habits and that is a wonderful thing.

Healthy Food For Kids
Child health, childhood obesity, Diabetes, Healthy Eating, junk food, Obesity, Overweight Children

How You Can Help Children Cope With Being Overweight

To be dealing with obesity, whilst living in a home with generations of overweight family members can be frowned upon and dauting. At times for many in the family,  it can be really tough to accept that children are overweight or obese. As according to a  recent survey, it should be no surprise to know, less than one percent of children meet the recommended dietary guidelines.

For overweight family members it may be normal to see their children putting on a little weight without comprehending how large and consequential issue this can be. All though it is never too late to make a lifestyle change, it is best to start of as early as possible to be able to wave off the detrimental effects of obesity. 

The best way to prepare or help children to lose weight  is to educate them. This is something that can best be managed by family and friends. Not only parents, even our society plays a vital role in coping up with a child’s obesity. The real change, however, does begin at home.

Here’s a list of a few things we can do to help these children.

Be a role model: Children learn by imitation. Parents being primary caregivers and inspirations play a impacting role in the life of their child. Therefore, you can start by teaching your child how to eat healthy by doing so yourself first. If as parents we strive to follow a  healthy life style, children will follow it much more naturally. If given the exposure, eventually they will start eating right.

Expose kids to healthy foods: If children have gotten into the habit of being offered junk food every time they demand it, they will only want to eat chips, cakes, biscuits and other processed food. Processed and junk food are addictive and having them can pose some serious problems moving forward. Instead we, as parents, need to expose them to colorful whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains like brown rice and nuts. Educate them on its goodness and health benefits so that children know what they are having and later tend to ask for them on their own. Research says that it takes around seven exposures before kids start eating healthy. So if they don’t like eating healthy initially, by the seventh time they will definitely be doing so. 

Change in environment and attitude: Implementing lifestyle changes for living healthy would be difficult when the environment and attitude towards being obese is negative. Such unhealthy attitudes towards obesity are not only seen outside but also in the home environment.

To change this rising trend of obesity, we need to change the environment. We can start with creating a positive environment at home for the children. While we need to make them aware of the need for maintaining good health, they also need to feel comfortable so as to share their fears and worries. A supportive environment where children are exposed to a healthy lifestyle becomes crucial. It is really all about focusing on being healthy rather than just focusing on losing weight. This way we can ensure that our children maintain their physical as well mental health.

Home cooking: Fill your refrigerator with healthy foods and not just junk food to resist temptation. Survey shows that home cooked meals plays the most important role in preventing obesity. Make sure that there is always a helping of salad at mealtimes. Parents can also teach children how to cook veggies get them interested in cooking healthy food at a young age. It is all about shifting their perspective to understand that healthy is also tasty.

Practice mindful eating: Children today, spend their time eating usually in front of the television and computer screens. Parents need to stop this habit of mindless eating in order to help their children feel more satisfied with their meals. It is important to sit down as a family and focus on what we are eating and be mindful of when our stomach is full. Mindful eating is all about ensuring that we are savoring every bite we eat. This starts with ensuring that there are no distractions at mealtimes.

Thus, a few changes such as these, made by families and friends, can have a great impact on a child’s over all well-being. Changes happen slowly, so be patient and remember to focus on health.

Childhood Obesity
Child health, childhood obesity, Healthy Eating, junk food, Obesity

How Can You Keep Your Child from Being Overweight/Obese

Parenting children today has proven to be more challenging than ever. A number of outside forces act as key influencers of unhealthy lifestyle development among children. Additionally, parents spend less time each day with their children as they work to meet the demands of societal expectations and a rapidly changing economy. These factors often combine to make an impressionable child thereby getting the parents to inculcate habits and patterns that can adversely affect the health of their child. It is the demand of the today’s age that parents and schools develop a strong partnership to help children maneuver the challenges of today’s world for their own success and well-being. Learning how to handle certain issues that might put your child on the path to obesity will give you the tools you need to help your child live a happy and fulfilled life.

Some initiatives that parents can take to keep their child from being overweight are:

Maintaining Healthy Relationships: Your relationship with your child requires quite a lot of energy. It is something that can take a lot of time and effort. The time you spend with your child is crucial. It is doubly important that children learn to trust their parent’s words, considering that parents are the first line of instruction. Children who trust their parents are healthier and excel in school too. Apart from dietary factors, this external factor plays a crucial role in any child’s obesity. A relationship where the parent can’t pay enough attention to the child can cause the child to find solace in food. Moreover, this can also promote feelings of low self-esteem and other unhealthy patterns. This makes it crucial for a child to have a healthy relationship with his or her parents.

Teach Restraint: According to a recent nationally representative survey, children from third through twelfth grade spend an estimated eight hours per day on a digital platform.  This can be using computers, listening to music, watching movies, playing computer and video games and watching television. Children are exposed to vast number of TV commercials for sodas, candies, fast food and other unhealthy food choices. This could explain the unprecedented spurt in the amount of junk food children eat today. At the same time, parents who just want to keep their kids from throwing tantrums exacerbate the situation by allowing their children unprecedented indulgences. Consequently, this leads children to develop little to no restraint which is instrumental in them becoming overweight or obese. Limiting access to technology and informing them about the harm of junk food can help reduce obesity.

Teach the Importance of Healthy Eating: The most important thing is teaching every child the importance of eating a healthy and balanced diet. The best way of dealing with a child’s burgeoning weight is to turn them on to healthier dietary habits. Studies on dieting behaviors consistently report that the inducement of parents is the most significant factor in causing children to begin eating healthier. The direct verbal encouragement of the parents towards the child is as much or even more influential than the parents own dieting behaviors.

Encouraging Physical Activities: Involve the whole family in an active lifestyle, this can include walks in the park or bicycling in the neighborhood. This is also a great time to talk to children about what is occurring in their lives as well. Join them on walks, or when they are on the playground and use this time to talk to them if they are being teased because of their weight.  Communicate with them about their fears and problems. As we all know exercise is a way of coping with emotions as well as eating disorders. Parents should focus helping their children develop habits of healthy, regular physical exercise. It is essential to teach them the value of exercise and thus value themselves.

It is important that parents intervene in helping children lead healthy lives from the early stages of child development. Parents shape their children’s dietary practices, behavior and weight in many ways and this makes it crucial for them to play a more active role in helping their child shed excess weight.

BMI, Child health, childhood obesity, junk food, Obesity, Social Relations, Uncategorized

Identifying Childhood Obesity

The world, today, is grappling with a major health crisis. The percentage of overweight and obese children has been on the rise for decades now, and the problem, today, is worse than ever. WHO has termed this issue as an ‘exploding nightmare’.

The problem is even greater for a developing country like India. With a majority of the nation’s population under 35, it becomes more important than ever to nip the issue of obesity before it exacerbates further. Childhood obesity has been identified as a precursor to a number of serious physical ailments. These range from diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, depression, and even cancer. There are over 30 identified serious diseases that can be brought on because of obesity.

What is Obesity?

Obesity, or adiposity, is the deposit of excess body fat. Being overweight and obese are two separate issues. The common denominator among them both is the prevalence of excess body weight. Children often retain a certain amount of fat during their pre-teen years which aids their growth during the formative adolescent years. The question whether your child is overweight, obese or having normal weight, however, is something that is best judged by consulting an expert. There are a number of ways to measure if a child is overweight or obese.

How is Obesity Measured?

The most common method of measurement is calculating the BMI, or body mass index. The BMI is calculated using the height and weight of the child. There are also online calculators and tables available for people to calculate the child’s BMI themselves.

There are also a number of field methods, or rough estimates, to ascertain if the child is overweight or obese. These include waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, skinfold thickness, and bioelectrical impedance. These means of measurement are used in a number of clinics, community settings as well as research studies.

Obesity in children is measured in BMI-for-age percentiles. This method calculates your child’s weight category based on their age and BMI. The BMI, however, is calculated on the basis of the child’s weight and height. Children above the 85th percentile are considered to be overweight. Research has found that children who are in the 85th percentile, or higher, continue gaining weight with time, this however, is not true for children at less than the 50th percentile.

Managing the Condition

There are a number of ways that one can manage obesity, especially in growing children. The key towards managing it, however, lies in recalibrating the habits of the child. And this begins with the parents. The child picks up habits from the parents, and having parents that embrace a healthy lifestyle is essential to the child being healthy as well. This is one of the basic support functions that we provide at Skooc.

The key is in identifying the habits that might be promoting obesity. Things like spending too much time on video games or an addiction to sugary drinks and confectionaries, are things that need to be tempered and managed. The key, however, lies in identifying these patterns. Once identified, we work with the parents and the child to help them rework these patterns into healthier versions. Thus leading them towards managing their weight problem in a healthier fashion as opposed to surgical or medical intervention.

BMI, Child health, childhood obesity, junk food, Obesity, Social Relations, Uncategorized

Here’s Why Childhood Obesity is Ignored in India

If you believe obesity is a problem plaguing only the developed nations, think again. India stands to have the second largest population of obese and overweight children in the world. By 2025 India will have over 17 million obese children and will be second in this category among 184 nations, says the international journal Paediatric Obesity.

Childhood obesity, while still largely prevalent in upper middle class and urban India, has begun to find roots in other segments of the society as well. Research findings state that it is the environment and not necessarily just the socio-economic conditions that encourage obesity and being overweight in children.

The worst part about this, however, is the cavalier attitude of Indians towards obesity. We have been brought up with the idea that having some fat on our bones is a sign of prosperity. This begins right from childhood where children, boys and girls alike, are criticised for being too skinny. Moreover, there is little understanding among nouveau urbane populace about healthy diet, leading to no percolation of sound dietary habits in the children.

There are some strong reasons as to why we in India, ignore obesity:

Our Body Type

Most Indians adhere to the conventional body structure of being small and plump. Owing to a history of deprivation and poverty our bodies have become more prone to hoarding fat. Research has shown Indians to be more prone to obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Many parents believe this to be the natural built of their bodies and accept it instead of working towards being healthier. What we need to understand is that there is a distinct shift in terms of the physical work done by Indians during the agrarian times and now. However our diet still remains carb heavy which is better suited to harder physical work. Monitoring the diet and regular exercise are crucial to ensuring that despite the body type, the child stays healthy.

Sedentary Lifestyle

More and more urban Indian children can be spotted with smart phones. There is an increasing tendency among children today towards spending their time in front of the television or playing video games. This increasingly sedentary behaviour has been one of the biggest culprits in the burgeoning problem of obesity. Physical activity and play is a must for children, at least till their late teens. This is the time when their bodies are being formed and habits inculcated at this time will stand with them all their life.

Focus on Book Learning

There is a high proclivity among urban parents to push their children to spend more time with their study books rather than on the playground. This only goes to exacerbate the problem stated above. It encourages the child to be more sedentary and hampers their natural urge for physical activity. Children should be spending at least 45 minutes on the playground everyday. Playing a sport not only provides opportunities to learn teamwork but also ensures that they are giving their bodies the exercise it needs, which actually has a positive impact of the child’s ability to focus better.

Parental Influences

Children pick up their dietary and lifestyle cues from their parents. Most parents are unmindful of the impact they have on the habits formed by their children. A busy set of parents often cannot spend the time to provide children the well-rounded diet required. This often becomes a habit that stays with the child through the years. If healthy habits need to be inculcated in a child, it needs to start with the parents.

Diet

Indians are often guilty of indulging in a diet heavy on carb and starch. Even if we ignore the increasing proclivity towards junk food, our move towards carb heavy food and high sugar food habits are highly unhealthy. Urban Indians make it a point to eat out regularly. Over and above that, more and more children are exposed to processed food right at their home. It is important that the children are instructed in the importance of a healthy diet and are made to follow it conscientiously.

Indians are guilty of encouraging chubbiness in their children. It is time we wake up to the fact that lean is not necessarily unhealthy. The impetus should be on being healthy instead of trying to adhere to perceived body types.

BMI, Child health, childhood obesity, junk food, Obesity, Social Relations

Chubby or Obese ?

There is a common consensus among Indian parents that a chubby baby is a healthy baby and therefore a happy baby. While chubby babies are undeniably cute, the question whether they are tipping over from healthy to overweight is still not being asked. Many parents, encourage chubbiness in children even after they have hit puberty, as they believe that chubby is healthy.  Indulging the child is a prerogative of the parent, however, ensuring the child is healthy is also a number one among a parent’s priorities and responsibilities.

There are a number of factors that contribute towards parents not being actively involved and enthusiastic about their child’s weight. Many believe, and rightly so in some cases, that it is just baby fat and the child will grow out of it. In many other cases it is simply denial. While some overweight kids do outgrow their fat, two out of three overweight children go on to be overweight adults. These statistics should be scary enough to make sure any parent takes notice.

Understanding Weight

Indian parents have a blind spot when it comes to their children. While this may be true for parents around the world, it is particularly apparent in case of Indian parents.  We living in a developing country, with an agrarian economy, as income increases food on the table increase too.  In a country where food is still scarce in many places, it is not unnatural for people to link chubbiness with good health which is a direct outcome of prosperity.

Parents often feel guilty if their children look skinny and this is a direct outcome of our societal views that good parenting means having healthy children. The idea that chubby is healthy has been deeply ingrained in the Indian psyche for a very long time and it is about time that changes. While a chubby child can be considered cute, parents should never pressure their baby to drink more than he or she is willing to or give them calorie dense foods in order to fatten them up. This is seen most apparently in small and lean babies.

Weight in children is measured in terms of percentile of BMI-to-age. A child above the 85th percentile is considered to be overweight. Any child above the 95th percentile is considered to be obese. Any child between the 5th and 85th percentile is a healthy child.

There is a stark difference between chubby, overweight and obese. A chubby child may not necessarily be overweight or obese, but may just stand the risk of becoming so if one isn’t careful enough.

Why Parents Overfeed their Children?

New parents often mistake a child crying as a demand for food. Children cry for various reasons, hunger is just one of them. Babies enjoy sucking when they are hungry, bored, uncomfortable or even for pleasure. This should not be taken as an indicator for feeding. This behavior continues into their growing years where children when bored will usually ask for something to eat since they have nothing else to do, or just have a habit of eating as they watch TV, read or play video games. Indulging in frequent snacking imbalances the digestive cycle and leads to a poorly structured eating pattern.

Growing years are what set the tone for the child’s eating habits and their psychological relationship with food. As parents, we need to be both mindful and directly responsible for ensuring that we are helping our children have a healthy relationship with the food they eat and their bodies.  At Skooc we ensure that you identify and follow a pattern of diet that is best for your child. This is important in order to inculcate healthy habits later in life. Healthy habits are the best precaution and prevention against obesity.