One way to halt soaring childhood obesity rates in countries like the US? Cut 64 excess calories a day, on average, from children’s diets, claim US scientists in a new study published on Tuesday.
While shaving 64 calories may not seem like a lot, researchers from
Columbia University state that doing so can make a big impact in
reducing obesity rates by 2020 in the nation. Add in a healthy dose of
exercise and the combination of reduced calories and enhanced activity
could “close the gap” between how many calories young people are
consuming and how many they expend, said the researchers.
this simple daily calorie reduction, the authors predict that the
average American youth would be nearly four pounds (1.8 kilos) heavier
than a child or teen of the same age five years ago, and more than 20
percent of kids would be obese, up from 16.9 percent today, stated a
press release. The study appears in the American Journal of Preventive
The researchers emphasize that 64 calories is an
average, with some children needing to cut more, others less. Still, the
study does illustrate how a few small measures could make a big impact
on weight in the long term.
The Mayo Clinic in the US recommends
you start small when it comes to helping your child lose weight. Make
small, gradual changes, such as turning off the television during
dinner, switching from soda or sugary beverages to skim milk or water,
and taking a family walk after dinner once a week.
Be sure to
stock your kitchen with fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods, rather
than snack foods and sugary drinks. Also, reduce the number of meals
your family eats in fast-food and other restaurants, and sit down
together for family meals. The Mayo Clinic also recommends serving
reasonable portion sizes and allowing second helpings to be only for
salad, fruits and vegetables.