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Making sure your child is healthy
To give your child the best start in life, it is important to make sure they have a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet alongside keeping physically active.
This is really important in Bradford where there is a high level of childhood obesity. If your child is overweight, it is likely that they will also grow up to be overweight adults and be at greater risk of serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Children who are a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier are better able to learn and are more confident as well as having higher self-esteem.
As a parent, you are one of the main people who can help your child make a difference to their weight. Listening to your child’s concerns and supporting them in being happy and healthy is important in providing them with the support they need.
The five key things you can do to help your child maintain a healthy weight are:
- be a good role model, children learn by example so if you are active and eat well it is likely that your child will too.
- get active, encourage 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
- control food portions, avoid feeding your child large portions of food.
- eat healthy meals, make sure they get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
- encourage less screen time and more sleep.
One of the main causes of obesity in children is the hidden amount of added sugar in many foods. Many children eat much more sugar than they should – it can often be found lurking in sugary cereal, juice drinks, yoghurt and chocolate bars. It can be easier than you think to cut down on sugar, you can start with these simple tips:
- download the free sugar smart app.
- make some sugar swaps
- have smaller portions
- eat sugary food less often
- try some low sugar recipes.
The other main cause of obesity is a lack of physical activity. Doing something physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of babies, toddlers and pre-school children. Light activity includes standing up, moving around, walking and less energetic play. Energetic activity includes active play, running around, dancing and swimming – activities that make your child out of breath.
Depending on the age of your child, there are different recommendations for how much physical activity they should do. The guidelines can be found here
There are lots of free online tools which are there to support you and your child in keeping active and eating healthy, including:
- Change4Life supports you and your family to be happier and healthier. The website has lots of ideas, recipes and games to help you get started and support you along the way.
- The NHS Choices website has lots of advice and guidance on what you can do to help your child maintain a healthy weight.