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Tips for parents raising healthy kids from the American Council on Exercise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years. This season, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” is tackling the childhood obesity epidemic head-on by featuring kid participants (ages 13-17) for the first time in addition to adult contestants. Due to this intense focus on childhood obesity, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) has raised the question of how parents can help their children reduce their risk of becoming obese. Here are a few tips that ACE has created for parents:

Avoid the “clean plate club” – When parents require their children to eat everything on the plate, kids then lose the ability to use their own feelings of hunger and fullness to decide how much to eat. Instead, make sure that your child’s plate is filled with the appropriate amount of food that will ensure they are eating a healthy meal. Remember, it’s not about quantity, it’s about the quality of food.

Offer vegetables (and other healthy foods) often – It takes kids up to 15-20 tries to like a previously rejected food, but they do come around.

Stop making dessert a reward – Often times, parents try to get their children to eat vegetables by promising them dessert as a reward. This creates a negative association with food in which, unhealthy food, like dessert, makes children feel good.

Learn fact from fiction on “The Biggest Loser” – If you are watching “The Biggest Loser” this season, take the opportunity to apply the various facts contestants are learning about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and apply them to your family. The activities and food habits that are taught on the show can easily apply to your household. Remember, habits form at home, so give your children the opportunity to start their lives healthy to avoid future health issues.

Get off the couch and get moving! � Parents need to help their children remember how much fun it is to be active! Set the stage so that they’re playing and breaking a sweat and having fun. Take some of the exercises that were seen on “The Biggest Loser” and apply them at home or create some fun indoor and outdoor activities around the house. It’s never too late to get moving!

For more tips and advice, you can go to ACEFitness.org for all of your fitness needs.


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