Start Obesity Prevention During Childhood

by Mary Ellen Renna, M.D.

There is a silent epidemic spreading throughout America. It is insidious and ravaging, and its victims are our children. What is it? Obesity in children has emerged as a serious threat to our nation's health.

Mary Ellen Renna, M.D., a Long Island-based board certified pediatrician and a physician nutritionist, is on a mission to reverse this trend. To combat it, she has developed a family-based nutrition and fitness program designed to educate children from infancy through adolescence. Here are some Dos & Don'ts from her program entitled Next Generation Fitness with Mary Ellen Renna, M.D.

  1. DON'T ever skip a meal. Skipping meals deprives the body of important nutrients and may cause you to over compensate by eating empty calories later.
  2. DON'T completely eliminate the foods children are used to eating. Instead, try to make a healthy version.
  3. DON'T make deep fried foods a part of your diet. Replace these with foods that have been sautéed, baked, roasted, broiled, or grilled
  4. DON'T expect the children to participate in good nutrition and exercise without parents being good role models.
  5. DON'T rely on gym class or sports team involvement to teach your kids lifelong exercise habits. Children need to learn to exercise without being a part of a sports team and get into the habit of an exercise routine.
  1. DO plan your meals every week so that you are able to keep track of what you are eating.
  2. DO incorporate foods that the whole family is comfortable with. There are healthy alternatives for nearly every kid-favorite food.
  3. DO eat fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, nuts and dairy daily. This will keep your children full and less likely to turn to foods with empty calories.
  4. DO involve the whole family in meal planning, exercise and family outings. The whole family's involvement will ensure cooperation.
  5. DO get your children to exercise at least three times a week, 60 minutes per day -- which can be broken up into 6 times each day for about 10-15 minutes.

Long Island-based Mary Ellen Renna, M.D is a member of a small pioneering group of board certified pediatricians nationwide who have also been board certified by the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists®.

Copyright © Mary Ellen Renna. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.