Overweight children suffer. They suffer because they deal with ridicule and rejection from their peers. Often they can’t participate in athletic activities or other school- and community-sponsored events. In a sense, they’re victims of our fast-food, high-calorie, supersized world of eating and our inactive and leisurely lifestyle.
Even more important, overweight children are at risk for chronic diseases later in life, and, increasingly, even while they are still young. Incidences of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, once unheard of in the young, have dramatically increased as young people become more overweight and obese. Other possible health effects of childhood obesity and being overweight are metabolic syndrome, elevated triglycerides, hormonal imbalances, and skin disorders.
While some people may shrug off childhood obesity as baby fat, it is a serious medical condition that needs to be addressed. According to the Mayo Clinic, a child is considered overweight if his BMI is between the 85th and 95th percentiles, and obese children have a BMI that is in the 95th percentile or above. Obese children often suffer from poor self-esteem and depression.
With the increasing popularity of television, computers and video games, children are leading a more sedentary lifestyle than ever. It seems as though the days of bike riding and running around the neighborhood are long gone, and kids’ waistlines are growing because of it. However, there are also hormonal and genetic causes of childhood obesity that need to be diagnosed by a doctor.
Weight Loss Tips For Children
Here are some tips for helping your child to lose weight, and to keep it off:
Consult Your Child’s Pediatrician
He or she might have the best ideas for helping your child to lose weight in a healthy manner. You’ll also want to keep in touch with your child’s doctor to make sure that dietary changes are not having an adverse effect on your child’s health.
Talk To A Dietician
A registered dietician can help you plan meals that are not only nutritious, but also low in calories and high in “kid appeal”. You will be better able to ensure that your child receives all necessary vitamins and minerals, if you have taken the advice of a dietician.
Eliminate The Junk Food
Sugary sodas are a waste of calories they provide no nutritional value, but are almost guaranteed to put on weight. Encourage your child to eat snacks made up of fruits or vegetables rather than cake and cookies. When trying to help your child lose weight, you should not limit how much your child eats instead, monitor what your child eats. In this way, you won’t be depriving your child of anything except empty calories.
Be Sure To Read Food Labels Carefully
Labels will inform you of the calorie and fat content of processed foods. This information will help you to select foods that will help your child slim down. Also, make sure that your entire family is eating healthy. Parents can set a powerful example for their children when it comes to diet. In addition, it is important for your child’s self-esteem that he or she is not singled out for healthy snacks. The whole family needs to be involved in the weight loss effort.
Make Sure Your Child Gets Plenty of Exercise
Too much television or video games can interfere with your child’s ability to burn calories. Therefore, you should encourage your child to become involved in sports or dance. Regular physical activity will boost your child’s metabolism, enabling your child to shed unwanted pounds. At times, you may also want to exercise with your child. Playing a game of touch football or bowling together can make exercise more fun for your son or daughter and it may help you yourself to lose weight in the process.
Eliminate Meals In Front of The TV
Studies have shown that those who eat their meals in front of the television set tend to eat more. Make it a rule that everyone in the household needs to eat meals at the dinner table. Also, make sure your child eats all snacks at the table. He or she is less likely to overindulge that way.
With proper guidance and discipline, your child can lose weight. But your child will need your continuing guidance and support to keep the weight off. And remember: weight loss takes time. Don’t expect any overnight success stories.
Stoping Weight Gain
An important first goal for most overweight kids is to simply stop gaining weight.
Using the method above, instead of counting all of your child’s calories and trying to stay below some set goal, you can use the fact that he probably eats about the same number of calories each day to help him not gain any more weight.
So just figure out how much extra weight your child gained in the past year and adjust his diet to compensate for these extra calories. The change might be as simple as changing to non-fat milk, diet soda or a more healthy after school snack.
Keep in mind that this ‘extra weight’ is above what your child would be expected to normally gain each year.