Fiber: An aid to preventing childhood obesity
In the United States, one out of every five children is obese. Overweight children are at risk for such disorders as Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and liver disease.
Setting a good example for your children by eating a balanced diet and exercising can help your child achieve a healthy weight and avoid becoming an overweight or obese adult. Increasing dietary fiber is one simple step you can take towards improving your whole family's eating habits.
Just as you can benefit from eating more fiber and nutritious whole grains, so can your children. The American Heart Association Eating Plan recommends that children older than two get the majority of their calories from complex carbohydrates high in fiber. They recommend "age plus 5" to set dietary fiber amounts for young children. For example, a six year old should eat 6 (their age) plus 5 grams of fiber = 11 grams of fiber daily. As a child consumes up to 1500 calories daily, he or she can tolerate 25 grams or more of dietary fiber.
In children just as in adults, high fat, high calorie and high sugar foods are a major contributor to obesity. Giving your child healthy, fiber rich snacks such as Gnu Bars, fruits and vegetables is a good rule of thumb. High-fiber foods satisfy your child's hunger and help curb unhealthy snacking. You can find out more about how dietary fiber works to aid weight control on CaloriesperHour.com.
A good resource for you and your child to explore together is the US Department of Agriculture's Website at http://www.mypyramid.gov and select the "For Kids" area in the menu to the left. The site targets 6- to 11- year olds and helps them to learn the benefits of combining good eating habits with physical activity to create a healthy lifestyle. Here you'll find a host of interactive tools, games and posters based on the Agriculture Department's recommended food guidelines and pyramid.*
Of course, if you have questions or are concerned about your child's weight, diet or exercise habits, please feel free to contact us.
Yours in health,