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Smart food choices for kids

METRO — Nutritious foods are a valuable commodity in the fight against childhood obesity. Obesity is a serious medical condition that affects people of all ages — children and adolescents included. Children who gain extra pounds may develop health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol later in life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says obesity affects about 14.4 million children and adolescents in the United States.

Combatting obesity may come down to helping children make smarter food choices through the years. These strategies can inspire kids to choose healthy foods.

— Offer items that are colorful. People tend to eat with their eyes and noses, and a colorful meal that looks good may encourage kids to dive in.

— Parents can set a positive example by choosing healthy foods as well.

— Involve kids in cooking meals, as they might be more inclined to eat healthy dishes they helped to prepare.

— Make “junk food” at home so you can control the ingredients and portion sizes.

— Tie foods to desired results. Let children know that eating lean proteins may improve sports performance or that certain fruits and vegetables can make their hair and skin look good.

— Praise children when they choose healthy foods.

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