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.
- 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.
- DON'T completely eliminate the foods children are used to eating. Instead, try to make a healthy version.
- DON'T make deep fried foods a part of your diet. Replace these with foods that have been sautéed, baked, roasted, broiled, or grilled
- DON'T expect the children to participate in good nutrition and exercise without parents being good role models.
- 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.
- DO plan your meals every week so that you are able to keep track of what you are eating.
- DO incorporate foods that the whole family is comfortable with. There are healthy alternatives for nearly every kid-favorite food.
- 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.
- DO involve the whole family in meal planning, exercise and family outings. The whole family's involvement will ensure cooperation.
- 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.