How To Help An Overweight Child-5 KeysAdeshola Ezeokoli
If a child is 10%-20% over his or her appropriate body weight, that child is said to be overweight. If above 20%, the child is obese.In America, 30% of children are overweight or obese. If your child is overweight, medical causes such as thyroid diseases and other hormonal diseases should be ruled out. Once they are ruled out, it is up to you as a parent to support your child on the road to becoming more healthy. Here are some important keys:
1. Be supportive:
Your little angel does not need another critic. Harping on the problem makes him feel worse. He is probably getting teased at school and playgroups for being chunky, by insensitive children. It seems as though, in our society, it is seen as “ok” to make fun of people who are overweight and treat them as though it is their fault. This is not right, and as a parent of an overweight/obese child, you need to be supportive of your child while you work with him to solve the issue of the weight. Make sure that you are patient and loving with your child and remind him that you love him, no matter what.
2. Lifestyle choices, rather than dieting:
Going on a diet does not work in the long run. A diet is like a jail sentence and once the “criminal” gets “out”, it will be business as usual resulting in weight gain even above what was originally lost on the diet. This is because after a period of “starvation”, the body becomes more efficient at storing fat! Start by cutting out one or two unhealthy foods at a time for a period of a few months. Replace with healthy foods. Children should get daily exercise. They should eat when hungry, not when bored.
3. Model healthy habits:
Do you eat bags and bags of potato chips and expect your child to magically make healthy choices? It is not going to happen. Are you a couch potato with an overweight child? Get moving! Do you eat to relieve stress? Your child will too. Do you eat when you are bored? Think about stopping as your child will copy what you do. You need to model the behavior that you want your child to have
4. Educate, educate, educate:
My children read food labels and tell me: “I won’t have that, it has 20 grams of sugar! 20 grams mom!” I usually mentally roll my eyes and wonder at the monster I have created. My older daughter taught her younger sister how to read food labels and tells her when something has too much sugar or salt! I read food labels myself and I emphasize that junk food is junk food for a reason. I will buy you a donut today, but do not think that you will get another one this week. Eat an apple. My children know that I go to the gym and call “Blast Fitness”( the gym) “mommy’s home”. Give your child information as you model the right things that you want them to do.
5. Help your child avoid temptation:
If all you have are apples and strawberries in your fridge, that is what you child will get when it’s time for a snack. It is easier to resist a food item over at the store, than when it is in your house, staring you in the face. If the shelves are stocked with high fat, high sugar, processed foods, then you will not make much progress.
These are just a few tips to help a child who is tending to be somewhat chunky. What tips have you used to help your child, to overcome weight issues?