Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States; obesity puts kids at risk for poor health. Despite recent declines in the prevalence among preschool-aged children, obesity amongst all children is still too high. It has immediate and long-term impacts on physical, social, and emotional health. Children with obesity are at higher risk for having serious health problems and diseases that affect physical health like asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease. They are bullied and teased of social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
To help your child maintain a healthy weight, check the calories your child takes from foods and beverages. The calories he/she is burning in physical activity for normal growth. But, just take care that the objective for overweight children and teens is to minimize the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. They should not be put on a diet for weight loss without the consultation of a health care provider.
Balancing Calories for Kids
Offer your kids nutritious meals and snacks with the right amount of calories. You can help them develop healthy eating habits by making favorite dishes healthier and by limiting calorie-rich temptations.
- Promote healthy eating habits-
- Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
- Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
- Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
- Serve reasonably sized portions.
- Encourage them to drink lots of water.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
- Remove Calorie-Rich Temptations– Treats are OK in general, but limiting high fat and high sugar or salty snacks will help your child to attain healthy eating habits.
- Help Your Kids Understand the Benefits of Being Physically Active– Make them understand that physical activity has great health benefits. This will keep them far away from obesity and weight loss supplements.
- Help Kids to Stay Active– Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity most days of the week, and every day if possible. Add some physical activity to your daily routine and boost your child to join you.
- Reduce Sedentary Time– Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit screen time like watching TV, playing video games and surfing internet to not more than two hours a day. Encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity.
- Schedule Regular Wellness Exams for Your Child– In these checkups, health care provider will conduct a complete physical examination, answer queries and address concerns about your child’s development and monitor your child’s growth like height, weight, and body mass index to confirm if it is within a healthy range.
Make Sure Your Child Gets Enough Rest- Children who regularly sleep less than the required number of hours are more at risk for being overweight. School-aged children usually require about 10 hours of sleep, younger children need about 12 hours and adolescents sleep for about 9 hours.
- Don’t Use Food to Motivate Your Child– Don’t use food as an incentive and withholding food as punishment. Tell your child that most foods can be made healthier for consuming, but processed foods that are high in fat and sugar and low in nutritional value should be taken occasionally.
- Don’t Tease Your Child about His or Her Weight– Don’t make comments about your child’s weight. Concentrate on healthy, positive lifestyle changes and make sure your child does not link his or her self-worth, or the value of other people, to body size.
If you have tried to change your family’s eating, drinking, physical activity, and sleep habits and your ward have yet not attained a healthy weight, ask your child’s health care professional for the other way out. He or she may suggest a plan for healthy eating and physical activity, or even refer you some weight loss pills, weight loss diet or any weight loss products that are available online. Opt for everything that makes you and your family healthier and happier.