Tips for Helping Your Child Lose Weight

With the rates for child obesity on the rise, it has become increasingly important for parents to educate themselves on healthy nutrition and to set a good example at home.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increased rates of overweight and obesity have led to more and more children being diagnosed with previously grown-up, obesity-related conditions such as high cholesterol and Type II diabetes.  Help your child fight obesity and live a healthy life by following these tips:

1.    Set a Good Example

Send a positive message that proper nutrition is impor­tant to your family.  You don’t have to eat perfect all the time, but if you are physically active and eat well, your kids will notice your efforts.  Little things can make a big difference, such as encouraging the stairs over the elevator.

2.   Keep things positive

Most kids hate being told what they can’t do.  Try and keep things positive by telling your kids what they can do and what they can eat.  Be supportive of your child and provide a lot of encouragement.  It is normal to experience frustration because all parents want their child to be healthy, but don’t take it out on them.

3.   Make it a Family Affair

Plan times for the whole family to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.

4.   Encourage Physical Activities They Enjoy  

Every child is different. Let your child experiment with different activities until they find something that they really love doing. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it.  It is important as the parent to be supportive.  Compliment your child as often as possible. Ex: I can’t believe how great of a swimmer you are after just a few lessons!  Can you teach me that stroke?

5.    Change your Family’s Eating Habits

Encourage your child to eat only when she is hungry and not as an activity. Serve family meals only in the kitchen or dining room without any other distractions like the television. If your child eats while watching TV, she may not be aware of how much food she is consuming and end up overeating. Make dinner time a family time.  When everyone eats together, there’s less chance of overeating or snacking too much.  Also, get your kids involved in healthy cooking and planning meals.

6.  Limit TV, Video Games and Computer Time

These habits lead to a inactive lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Limit screen time to1-2 hours per day.

7.    Health Education

It’s important for the whole family to learn what’s good for their health and to be more conscious of what they eat. It’s a habit that helps change behavior for a lifetime.  As a family learn how to read food labels.  This is something that will be important to your child’s health for a lifetime.

8.   Tame the Overeater

If your child tends to overeat, maybe it’s time you restock your pantry.  Many snack foods (found in the cookie and chips aisles of the grocery store) have high levels of MSG, a chemical that tricks your body into thinking its consuming something nutritious and you’re hungry an hour later.  Provide your child with lots of fruits and vegetables and encourage the consumption of water over juice and soda.  Foods high in fiber not only have fewer calories, but can also make your child feel full.  Low-fat snacks like popcorn or pretzels are better than chips and cookies.

9.    Stay Involved

Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol.  Monthly follow ups with your pediatricians are important for weight check and blood tests; however, avoid daily weigh-ins at home because this can cause a child added stress.


10.  Reward System

A reward system may help motivate your child to stay on her diet. For example, if your child drinks water instead of soda for a week, reward her with a favorite activity or small toy. Do not reward your child with food, TV, or video games.  Find other way to reward good behavior such as a favorite activity or toy.

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