demetrcemorrison.jpgObesity rates in the U.S. have doubled among children, and tripled among adolescents over the recent years, posing a serious threat to the health of the nation.

Fewer than 20 percent of the nation’s children over 2 years of age eat the recommended daily number of servings of fruits and vegetables, and they consume an excessive amount of fat and calories.

The 2005 Institute of Medicine report, Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, concluded that corrective environmental changes like eating habits are the most powerful strategies for addressing childhood obesity.

Some healthful tips include starting good nutrition habits at home with low-fat cheese and fresh fruit, whole grain crackers and low-fat peanut butter. Also, you can add a handful of nuts and a glass of milk.

Involving kids in preparing the grocery list is another interactive way to help them understand the importance of eating healthy. Explain to kids about foods that help balance healthy weight. Emphasize water instead of sodas and juices for adequate hydration.

Healthy eating is vital to promoting health and maintaining an optimum body weight, so engage your children in forming the grocery list, in grocery shopping, and in low-fat healthy meal preparation.

Demetrice Morrison, RD LD/N, is a registered dietitian / licensed dietitian nutritionist with eight years experience. She has worked with the state Department of Children and Families, Hispanic Unity, The American Cancer Society and The Children’s Trust, with a specialization in pediatric and geriatric nutrition.

Photo: Demetrice Morrison