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Q: How can I prevent obesity in my child?

Posted September 11, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: Get your child moving. Exercise as a family (you need to set the example) and encourage your child to be active every day. Build up to 60 minutes of vigorous activity every day as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The 60 minutes should include muscle-strengthening exercises (such as pushups) and bone-strengthening exercises (such as jumping rope).

Change habits. Switching from whole to skim or even 1 percent milk and avoiding sugary cereals can help. Sugared sodas and fruit drinks are also a common unrecognized source of excess calories. Eliminating these drinks or switching to diet drinks may help your child achieve a healthy weight.

Start early. The foundation for healthy eating and physical activity needs to be established early in childhood.

Set an example. As a parent, are you eating right and exercising? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should be getting 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, plus two days a week of muscle-strengthening exercises that work all major muscle groups.

In general, the goal for overweight children who are still growing isn’t to lose weight, but rather to slow down their weight gain and allow their height to catch up.

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, 400 N. Elm St., Jefferson, 515-386-2164.





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