It is not unusual to find children living in the YK Delta who have an unhealthy weight—nearly half of all children ages 2 to 5 enrolled in YKHC’s WIC Program are either overweight or obese. With high rates of overweight and obesity among children, world health experts are predicting that this generation of children will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.
What can Parents Do To Help their Children have a Healthy Weight?
Breastfeed your baby
- Preventing obesity begins at birth through breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding your baby for at least the first six months of age without feeding formula can significantly reduce the chances of your teenagers becoming overweight.
- Encourage children to drink water.
- Do not offer sugary drinks such as Tang/Koolaid and soda on a daily basis. They contain a lot of sugar.
- Limit 100 percent juice to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
- Children 1 – 2 years: 2 cups per day of whole milk.
- Children 2 – 8 years: 2 cups per day of low-fat or fat-free milk.
- Do not skip breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day.
- Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Decrease intake of high energy-dense food such as fried and junk foods like chips.
Pull the Plug and Get Moving
- Children who watch a lot of TV are more likely to be overweight than children who are active.
- During the winter season, shoveling snow is a very good exercise.
- Traditional Yupik Dance is a fun way to get your child moving.