Raising a happy and healthy child is every parent’s top priority. While it seems simple to do so by ensuring that they follow a sensible diet, get plenty of exercise and are careful when it comes to dealing with illness and infections, it is difficult to avoid the common modern scourge of metabolic syndrome.

What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
This is a collection of risk factors that ups the chances of your child getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It could include any of the following:

  • Too much belly fat
  • High blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension
  • Unusually high levels of blood fats or lipids, including cholesterol and triglycerides
  • High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia

While these are typically issues that adults and older folks deal with, an increasing number of young people such as teenagers and children are beginning to report having them. Some studies have shown that more than a third of the teen population and almost five percent of kids in the second and third grade have metabolic syndrome.

While this is definitely alarming information, as parents, you can take certain steps to reduce the chances of your child becoming another statistic.

But first, you must understand the causes of metabolic syndrome:

Here’s a four-point checklist that can help minimize your kids’ chances of suffering from metabolic syndrome:

  1. Did They Get A Health Test? A good doctor can administer tests to check for your child’s growth, sex, weight, and height and chart these factors based on their age.
  2. Are They Active? Make sure your child gets enough exercise and has a healthy weight, which will help them to have normal levels of blood pressure, blood lipids, insulin and cholesterol.
  3. Do They Eat Right? Instill in your child a healthy attitude to food so they respect, enjoy and appreciate it, which will allow them to nourish themselves and make healthy dietary decisions throughout their lives. Help them start practicing mindfulness, eating complex carbs, whole grains and vegetables for increased fiber, consuming moderate amounts of healthy fats and avoiding empty calories and processed foods.
  4. Are You A Good Mentor? We’ve already looked at how mothers are important role models in their daughters’ lives, and how they influence their health and overall well-being. Set a good example by not indulging in harmful and addictive habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or drugs.

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.