"I think that if you want to solve the problem, you have to look at what the root causes are: What are my kids doing that made them obese? What are they missing? Step back and look at some of the basic behaviors. Don't look for magic cures, because there aren't any. Figure out what you are willing to do to change your basic behaviors," suggested Rao.
"The most important thing is to consider what the components of good health are: exercise, eating foods provided by nature, eating lean protein and complex grains," said Kohn.
All three experts strongly advocated increasing your child's physical activity levels. "After dinner, go for a walk. If your kids like to watch videos, encourage them to dance to the music," advised Salazar. Rao said that walking to school is also a great way for kids to get more daily exercise.
"You can't create the perfect environment," said Rao, "but you can make smarter choices."
All three also suggested adding nutrition education into school curriculums to help give children the knowledge they need to make those smarter choices.
To learn more about childhood obesity and steps you can take to help your child, visit the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General.
SOURCES: Goutham Rao, M.D., clinical director, Weight Management and Wellness Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pa., and author, Child Obesity: A Parent's Guide to a Fit, Trim and Happy Child; Brenda Kohn, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist, New York Medical Center, and associate professor, New York University School of Medicine, member of the advisory board of the Juvenile Diabetes Association, New York City; Alexandra Salazar, R.D., pediatric nutritionist, Children's Hospital at Montefior
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