Overweight Children Help
Help for Overweight Children
Nutritious diet and regular physical activities are important factors for child’s good health. Overeating, eating food with high calories and low nutritional values, spending lot of time in recreational activities instead of undertaking physical exercises can result in overweight condition in childhood and may also follow during adulthood. Parents have to play active role in ensuring that their child does not become overweight.
Who is overweight child?
The fact that the growth of rate is different at different ages makes it difficult whether the child is becoming overweight or not. If you suspect that your child is developing overweight condition you must consult your physician on this aspect. Your physician will decide on the overweight aspect after considering weight and height of your child.
Help your overweight child
Develop healthy eating and physical activity habits in child and whole family. Never single out the overweight child. Nutritious diet and regular physical exercises will benefit everybody. Never put any restrictions on child’s diet without consulting an expert in this field. Eating is must for physical growth and mental development of the child. Try to adhere to following guidelines.
- You must convince your child that he/she is special for you and you love him/her. Normally, parent’s feeling about children is the base for children’s feelings.
- Never neglect overweight child. If you accept your child the way he is, overweight, the chances are more that the child will accept the condition and feel good about them.
- Never ignore you child. Let his express his feelings about his overweight condition. They can assess their overweight condition better than anybody else.
- Support, encouragement and understanding by the parents play a greater role in reducing problems produced by overweight condition.
Cultivate healthy eating habits
- Give more fruits and vegetables to the children. Allow your child to choose these for them from store
- Avoid giving high-fat high-calorie foods such as cookies, candy and chips and soft drinks. You may give these snacks on some special occasion but surely not daily. Instead of these snacks give healthy snacks.
- Never skip breakfast with aim of reducing weight. This may make your child hungry and tired and the child is likely to take less healthy foods later.
- You should have diet plan for whole family and must enjoy your meals while eating together.
- Avoid eating fast food more often. Choose healthy foods whenever you visit fast food restaurants.
- Ensure that your child take adequate fluids. Prefer low-fat milk and water over fruit juice as fruit juices are rich in calories.
- Your child may not eat the new food during first few servings. Don’t get discouraged. Encourage the child to eat new healthy foods.
- Never try to use food as punishment or reward. Children learn to dislike foods they think are less valuable.
- Begin with small servings and provide additional servings only if your child is hungry and demands for food. You can select the quality of food but let your child choose the quantity.
You can try the following healthy snacks
- Fruits (fresh, frozen or canned) or light syrup
- Little quantity of dry fruits like apple rings, raisins or apricots, Fresh vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, carrots.
- Low-fat cheese or whole-wheat crackers with little peanut butter, Lo-fat yogurt, low-fat vanilla wafers, animal crackers or graham crackers
Smaller, sticky, round foods like nuts, seeds can cause chocking in children below age of 4 years.
Encourage Regular Physical activities
- Children take encourage for physical activities after seeing their parents active and having fun. Set example yourself
- Motivate your child to participate in sports activities like soccer, basketball, dance or gymnastics
- Help your child in choosing sports activities that provide fun and not embarrassment
- Ask your child to do active chores like vacuuming, making beds, watering plants etc. Also plan active outings like visit to zoo or walking through parks.
Never encourage child to undertake adult-style physical activities like treadmills, long jogs or weight lifting.
About an hour physical activity, spread over spells, is enough for children. You can try activities like climbing on jungle gym, bike riding, playing hopscotch, swinging on swing set, bouncing ball etc that will provide them fun as well as physical fitness.
Restrict inactive times
- Do not allow children to spend more time in front of TV or playing on computers
- Motivate your child to spend more time on other activities like acting out favorite stories, doing art project etc
- Avoid providing snacks during commercials and also encourage the child to move during this period
Children are good learners and pick up quickly what they see. You must project yourself as a role model by adhering to healthy eating habits and regular physical activities. They will surely follow you.
Obtain booklets, brochures and related information on healthy eating habits, weight control and physical activities from your health care provider. There are number of professionals like dietitians, exercise physiologists and psychologists, who can guide you on the aspect of overweight.