Jenn Hopkins, Registered Dietician for the Women, Infant & Children (WIC) Program at the Bear River Health Department, discusses the issue of childhood obesity. How much physical activity do children need? Food labels for infants & young children?

What can you do to help prevent childhood obesity:

1-   Help children learn to trust their own hunger/full cues.  This starts with infancy – as parents learn to trust the hunger/full cues babies give them and babies learn to trust they will be fed when hungry and won’t be overfed when they give signs of fullness.    This travels with them throughout childhood and even into adulthood and helps them create and build a healthy relationship with food.

2- Daily physical activity:   Be active with your child and provide plenty of opportunities for them to be active.  Explore parks, build an obstacle course in your yard, go hiking, or have a dance party.  Doing it with them and making it fun will make a big difference.  Daily activity is important for physical and mental health.  It helps with muscle and bone strengthening, coordination,  healthy body composition, increases self-esteem and decreases the risk of depression.

3-  Healthy Beverages:    Water is the best hydrator and is readily available.  Other nutrient-dense beverages can be a good part of a healthy diet – like milk and juice.  However, too much of a good thing isn’t always good.  So, making sure that juice and milk are kept at the recommended levels is ideal. Serve milk & juice at meals and snacks and offer water throughout the day between meals and snacks.  This helps with hydration, dental health and avoiding extra calories from beverages.