Recent research has found that as many as 1 in 3 US children are obese. What's even more alarming is that additional research has found that early weight issues can result in a lifetime of increased health risks and problems. Since the last thing you want for your child is a bleak future, here are some tips that can help keep them healthy and happy:

Exercise Regularly

Parents and children alike should make time to exercise at least three times a week. Exercise helps a child who is overweight to shed pounds naturally, but it also provides many other health benefits. A child who exercises on a regular basis will sleep better at night, have a high immunity to sickness and experience less stress.

An elementary school child should be allowed to choose a form of exercise that he or she enjoys doing. Some fun exercise ideas include riding an elliptical while watching TV, biking, skating or swimming. By making exercise fun, a child will be motivated to continue exercising as he or she gets older.

Eat Healthy Foods

Eating healthy foods is very important. A child who eats too much junk food is almost guaranteed to have obesity and health problems as he or she grows up. In fact, nutritionists say that 60% of a person's diet should consist of fruits and vegetables. Luckily, there are many tasty ways to prepare these healthy foods, including homemade shakes and juices.

While junk food isn't great for you, it can be eaten in moderation. A child who's allowed to have an unhealthy snack from time to time, will not have to worry about serious health issues. However, these foods should be occasional treats, not regular snacks.

Drink Water

Unfortunately, there's a common misconception that drinks like juice or soda are close enough to water. The reality is that water is vital to health and weight loss. As a result, children should be encouraged to drink water on a very regular basis. Children should take a water bottle with them when they go out so they can drink water as often as they would like. Water helps to flush toxins out of the body, is great for weight loss, and will help to fill up the stomach so that your child is not inclined to overeat.

Deal with Stress

Even young children can have stress issues. Stress can cause a child not to sleep well at night, which can then lower his or her resistance to sickness. Many stressed out children (and adults) also turn to unhealthy snack foods to deal with the stress.

If you want a happy and healthy child, use the above tips to help your child develop good health habits at an early age. A child who learns how to eat right, drink plenty of water and get enough exercise will not have to worry about obesity and all the problems that come along with it. Teaching good health habits at an early age is one of the biggest favors that any parent can do for his or her child.

John Wisenheimer is a writer that blogs on parenting and babysitting. Find out more at