At Gentle Professional Foot Care we couldn’t let September end without bringing National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to the attention of our patients. Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, treats many podiatric disorders that are caused or made worse by patients carrying excess weight. These include: diabetes, arthritis, sesamoiditis and plantar fasciitis, among many others. You can start and keep your child on the path to a healthy weight with these simple steps:
1. Educate—help your child learn about nutrition and fitness and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to get out a textbook to do this. Take advantage of everyday opportunities when shopping to point out healthy foods and ones that are high in fat and sugar. Use a news item to discuss a health condition that is affected by weight. Point out food and health trends on TV and in other media and ask your child to start to evaluate what’s healthy and what’s not.
2. Make Smart Food Swaps—start to make small changes to your family’s diet. Eat more whole foods and less processed, packaged ones. Exercise portion control by using smaller plates. Increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables on the plate. Experiment with international cuisines and recipes that cook foods in healthful ways such as grilling, broiling and oven roasting instead of frying. Replace sugary sodas with seltzer and a squeeze of fresh citrus or other fruit.
3. Get a Move On—put firm limits on the amount of time your children are allowed to sit in front of a screen. Encourage some form of physical activity every day. If your child is participating in a sport this may happen naturally but if they don’t, get creative. Have them rake leaves, ride their bike, play basketball in the driveway or walk the dog. Find physical activities that you enjoy doing as a family—swimming, hiking, kayaking—and make time to do them as often as possible.
Children who learn how to maintain a healthy weight are more likely to continue those good habits into adulthood. If you have any other concerns about your child’s feet, contact our Venice office by calling: 941-493-7999.