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Now let's learn more about the steps you can take to help your child.* Being overweight
can be a difficult emotional experience for your child. Let them know that they're loved
and appreciated no matter what they weigh. Overweight children need support, acceptance
and encouragement from their parents. Parental impact is greater when both mothers and fathers
are involved. Remember, what you want to encourage is a healthy weight and lifestyle - not just
Try not to make your child feel different. Your child's success depends on gradually
changing your entire family's physical activity and eating habits.
Be a good role model - if you eat healthy foods, your child will too. If you exercise,
they are more likely to exercise. But there is no simple fix. What you are trying to do
is teach your child how to live a healthy life.
Finally, along with your pediatrician, set the appropriate weight goal for your child.
This may simply mean maintaining his or her current weight while he or she grows taller.
If you or your child's doctor determine that your child is overweight, the most likely
treatment will be a change in physical activity and better eating habits. Here are some action
steps you can take with your child. You may want to pause so you can write these down:
First, make sure your child is physically active. Children should get about 60 minutes
of moderate physical activity per day. Don't assume your child is getting enough physical
activity at school. Add some form of exercise at home, such as a fast walk around the neighborhood.
Plan family activities that provide everyone with exercise and enjoyment. Remember, your
child's success depends on everyone in your family making changes as well.
Limit TV to less than 2 hours per day. And it's a good idea to discourage eating
while watching tv. The "couch potato" lifestyle contributes to weight problems.
Eat meals as a family and gradually cut down on the amount of fat and calories in your
family's diet. Replace all unhealthy snacks with healthy ones in the household - remember
the best approach is for the whole family to make a change.
Avoid restrictive diets and never give your child weight-reduction medication without
a recommendation from your child's doctor.
Make small changes in everyday habits. Encourage your child to drink more water, eat more fruits
and vegetables every day, and start every morning with a healthy breakfast.
Finally talk to your child. This will likely be a difficult time for them and knowing that
you’re there to listen and support them will be key to their success.
Childhood obesity is one of today's biggest health concerns. It causes physical and emotional
problems that can affect your children for years to come. But if you act early, these
problems can be avoided or even reversed.
With the involvement of the entire family, and your doctor, your child can achieve a
healthy weight, and your whole family will be better for it. Thanks for being a part
of HealthiNation. Remember, it's never too late to take control of your family's health!