Can Childhood Behavior Modification Treat Obesity
Child behavior modification concerning nutrition involves changing the attitude and the manner in which children perceive them. It is one of the effective options to deal with excessive weight gain in children. There are increasing evidences that obesity has a psychological dimension to it apart from its genetic origin. Addressing this mental aspect early in childhood can enable children to view food in a healthy way.
Why Child Behavior Modification is Essential?
Though the rate of childhood obesity tripled in the United States during the years 1980-2000, it has stopped climbing above 32 percent according to recent studies.
According to a study carried out by the American Obesity Association, 30 percent of parents were concerned about the weight gain in their children. More than 5 percent of these parents believed that childhood obesity posed a threat to the long term health of their children.
In spite of these statistics revealing the gravity of the situation, 35 percent of parents prefer to place the responsibility on schools to teach the kids about the harmful effects of obesity. Lifestyle and behaviors are easier to be established at a young age.
It’s easy for children to get addicted to fast foods and lead a sedentary lifestyle due to an ever increasing accessibility of food, busier lifestyles of parents and less safe outdoor play areas. Hectic urban lifestyle, erratic work schedule of both parents and a focus on leading a luxurious life do not allow parents to spend quality time or monitor the daily lives of their kids. Absence of elders at home at crucial moments of learning contributes to the children developing faulty attitudes and habits on food and activity.
What are the Child Behavior Modification Steps for Treating Obesity?
- Parents have to prioritize addressing weight gain in their children and take some time out of their hectic schedule in assisting them.
- After ensuring their adequate presence at home with kids, it is time to identify the faulty practices of kids with food.
- Playful sessions can then be initiated where the benefits of choosing fresh fruits and vegetables and the harm of eating too much fast food and soft drinks can be addressed.
- Leading by example, parents should allocate 30 minutes to an hour of time for active movement on a daily basis.
- Changes in the mindset of the kids will be quick as they will be delighted to find their parents around and doing things as a family.
- Sleeping at a fixed time at night regularly and ensuring 6-8 hours of sleep goes a long way in addressing early childhood obesity. A Northwestern University study has found that an extra hour of sleep reduces the risk of being overweight in children from 36 percent to 30 percent. Older children also benefit with adequate sleep as the risk in them for being overweight comes down from 34 to 30 percent.
Positive reinforcement for children is extremely important to maintain their openness to any change. Parents should discuss general nutrition and encourage activity breaks as well as creating a family friendly dinner meal time. A family that plays together grows healthy together.