Neighborhood can significantly influence one’s health.
For instance, in a recent study published in Journal of Public Health, researchers found that children who live close to fast food restaurants gain weight more easily than children who live far away from fast food outlets.
The researchers tracked the weight gain of more than 1,500 primary school children about 6 years (4-5 years old to 10-11 years old).
They found that local food environment plays a big role in these children’s body weight.
When the neighborhood has many fast food restaurant, children’s diet is rich in fat and sodium, and hence they gain more weight during the time.
On the other hand, when the neighborhood has healthy food choices, like salad bars and vegetarian restaurants, children’s diet is healthier and they gain weight less and slower.
Previous studies have shown that neighborhood environment can affect how well people can take physical activities to achieve a healthy body weight.
This study is in line with previous findings, and suggest that local food environment can influence children’s food choices and their body weight.
The researchers hope national and local policy makers to take decisions that support better living environment that can help people eat healthier and take more exercise.
Tips to keep your child have a healthy diet:
Focus on a balanced diet rather than specific food. Children should eat more whole food and less processed food.
Disguise the taste of healthier foods. Some healthy food like carrot and kale may be hard to attract children. Parents can try to disguise the original taste of these foods during cooking and make them more appealing.
Cook more meals at home. Parents can prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner at home for children. In this way, they can make sure the meals don’t have too much fat and sodium.
Provide healthy snacks to children. It is not hard to pack some fruits or vegetable sticks for children everyday so they can have healthy snacks.
Limit portion size. When serving meals at home, limit the food portion your children receive. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.