The rate of obesity in this country is something that we’re quite concerned about at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey, our expert podiatrists, see a large number of patients whose foot issues are caused by or exacerbated by obesity. These include conditions like heel pain, tendonitis, flat feet, and even stress fractures. And more and more of these issues are cropping up in children.
You can help overcome the effects of childhood obesity by remembering two simple rules: eat less and exercise more. Now, we know that the problem isn’t necessarily that simple. Childhood obesity is influenced by genetics, socioeconomic status, and even where a person lives. But even so, following these two overarching rules is a good start in overcoming childhood obesity and, if you start early, maybe even preventing it from happening in the first place.
- Eat less.
A more fun way to express this might be “eat this, not that.” More than just a series of books, “eat this, not that” can be a fun activity that you practice with your kids. Make a game out of choosing a healthier food over one that’s heavy in calories and unhealthy fats. Feel like ice cream? – choose Greek yogurt instead. Garnish your eggs with whole grain toast instead of a pancake. Spread your sandwich with avocado instead of mayonnaise. Swap out sugary sodas in favor of lemon-infused water. And don’t forget to watch your portions.
- Exercise more.
Use whatever phrase works for you and your family – maybe you want to adopt an active lifestyle or simply keep moving! Let your kids take turns choosing a family activity like rollerblading, lifting weights (or soup cans!), or taking a yoga video out of the library. Instead of inviting the relatives over for Sunday dinner, take them all on a fall hike. Start each Saturday with foot stretches and a walk around the block, and make it a regular part of your routine. Take every opportunity to move, and move more!
With a bit of forethought and tenacity, you can experiment with and expand upon these 2 rules in many ways that are fun for kids, and help keep their feet from the effects of obesity. For more information or for answers to your questions about children’s foot health, contact us at our office in Solon, OH at (440) 903-1041.