It is natural for mums and dads to want their children to have the best chance of staying healthy throughout childhood and beyond. One concern for parents to navigate is the issue of obesity, which affects around 24% of Australian children.
In this article, we explore exercise, diet and weight management for children. If you are a parent and have concerns about what a healthy weight means for your child, it is important to seek qualified medical advice.
By age seven, many children are developing eating and exercise habits that may influence their future healthy weight. You can set up a child for optimal outcomes by making healthy lifestyle choices fun and exciting.
Exercise: The Power of Movement
We know exercise is necessary for staying healthy and keeping our weight in check (even at young ages). But did you know that exercise and movement are critical for your child’s physical development and their mental health? Exercise has shown to be crucial for maintaining healthy moods and cognitive development.
This is why it is good to encourage daily exercise in your children, even if they’re active during the day. An extra hour of playtime at the park or in the back garden can help a child’s overall health. You might even find that this extra exercise helps ward off moody days or enables your child to sleep better at night.
Here are some idea’s that may inspire more exercise and movement;
- Spend an hour outside after school when possible
- Allow your child to try a sport they find interesting
- Put on music and dance while you’re cooking dinner or doing household chores
- Go for a walk (or swim) together as a regular family event
Plates to be Proud of: Healthy Eating for Seven-Year-Olds
Nutrition is critical for helping your child to maintain a healthy weight, support their immune system, and grow strong muscles and bones. As a parent, however, it can be challenging to get your child to eat healthy foods.
By age seven, children are old enough to be more adventurous with foods and should be open to trying new things. If you have a picky eater on your hands, transition into healthier eating smoothly, rather than trying to do it all at once.
Here are some idea’s that might help encourage a transition into healthier eating habits;
- Focus on lots of fruits and vegetables and try to eat every colour of the rainbow each week. The “rainbow challenge” can even be a fun way to involve your child in healthy grocery shopping.
- Reward with healthy treats. Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t indulge. Choose healthier ways to enjoy the sweeter side of life.
- Children are not as aware of their appetites as adults. Control portion sizes to prevent your child from consistently overeating.
If you are concerned about your child’s health and weight management you should seek out professional support and advice. However, you may consider a mix of regular exercise and balanced eating (mixed in with fun) as a great approach to start with.
Written by Kaitlan D.
As well as a writer with a passion for education, Kaitlan works in a wellness practice, working with mothers, mothers-to-be and hopeful mothers.
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Overweight & obesity. 2019-07-16
 Bidzan-Bluma I, Lipowska M. Physical Activity and Cognitive Functioning of Children: A Systematic Review. 2018-05-19
All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.