Campus News

Give obese children healthier options

One in every three children is obese, and to combat this epidemic Connie Crawley, a nutrition specialist with the Cooperative Extension, suggests parents change their children’s eating habits or lifestyle choices through slow but deliberate strategies.

She recommends eating more fruit and avoiding soft drinks and highly processed foods, especially when wheat flour or sugar is the first ingredient listed.

Instead of a complete overhaul of the pantry, she recommends changing one product at a time. Don’t announce the intent to change the family’s diet, she said. Simply introduce new foods as something fun to try.

Kid-friendly power foods, she said, are those with low fat, a lot of color, good fiber and require little prep work. Good choices are blueberries, raw broccoli with low-fat dip, whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter, sliced oranges, salmon, tuna or steamed edamame.

Weight control for children and teens depends on being physically active for at least an hour each day. Children enjoy taking walks or bike rides with their parents. They can improve their coordination with backyard games of kick ball, soccer, hide-and-seek, volleyball, jump rope or badminton.