Western Mass News took a closer look at what many consider a staggering increase in childhood obesity.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970's.
Today, about one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese.
"The number one recommendation, do not bring attention to it at all. Think about what you're doing to them as they grow older. So really it's about shifting your whole family's way of eating. Instead of saying well, 'because Suzy has put on some weight, you know, never do that," said Registered Dietitian Carrie Taylor.
Registered Dietitians Carrie Taylor and Andrea Luttrell are part of Big Y's wellness team.
Western Mass News met with them to look at what choices parents should be making.
"The majority of children are getting added sugars from things like the sports drinks, sodas sweetened fruit juices," said Luttrell.
She explained that children should only have twenty-five grams of added sugar a day.
"When we're looking at labels we want to see things like cane sugar, honey, agave, anything that's been added to make a product sweet. So if they have a sports drink when they're out they're already getting more then double their sugar for the day," she continued.
Luttrell said parents should look for "100% juice" and "no sugar added" on labels, and to be aware of deceptive labels such as 100% natural flavors.
When picking produce and protein, Taylor said it's important to ditch those pre-made choices.
"A lot of times the convenience foods do have added oils and seasonings and sauces where if you just got them in their basic forms, just chopped fruit or pre-torn, pre-washed lettuces and you add your own flavorings you're much better off and you can nip those excess calories in the bud," she noted.
Taylor and Luttrell recommend getting your children involved when it comes to cooking.
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