Article and Information

August 28, 2013

Eating Healthier Can Lead to a Better Life

Joseph Magley, MD
Joseph Magley, MD

The concern over obesity in children has garnered national attention. HBO broadcast the four- part documentary “The Weight of the Nation” last year shining a spotlight on the health of America’s children. Here are a couple of facts about obesity in children.

  • The percentage of children aged 6 – 11 years old who were overweight increased from 7% in 1980 to 20% in 2008.
  • Half of obese teenage girls will be extremely obese by their early 30’s.

There are a number of things parents can do to help turn things around. One is changing the way your children and family eats. A simple practice is to eat meals together as a family whenever possible without any distractions. When you have those family meals think about serving some of the following:

  • Protein rich foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, beans and nuts
  • Fiber-rich whole grain breads and cereals
  • Low-fat or Non-fat dairy products
  • Try grilling or broiling instead of deep frying
  • Avoid junk food binges by keeping it out of the house

Parents should avoid forcing their children to finish all the food on their plate if they’re full. You should only eat when you’re hungry. Food should not be used as a reward or punishment with your children. You don’t have to eliminate sweets altogether, but focus on healthy nutrition and remember everything is fine in moderation.

Finally, you can help encourage you children to eat better and be more active if Mom and Dad eat better and are active themselves. You can set a great example for your kids by taking family walks, riding bicycles together, playing games and going to the park. Remember eating healthier can be a fun and rewarding activity by introducing your children to new foods that will make them healthier adults. Why not make a new start with a family dinner tonight?

About the writer: Joseph Magley, MD, is a family medicine and obstetrics physician with Franciscan Medical Clinic in Enumclaw. Need a doctor? Call the Franciscan Physician Referral Line toll-free: 1-888-825-3227.