Changing lifestyles are blamed for our children’s growing weight problems. It is estimated that children spend an average of more than four hours a day watching television or playing computer games, and as computer games become more sophisticated and attract a larger audience, that number is likely to increase. As a result, more than one-third of children in the United States are classified as overweight based on body fat as measured by body mass index and weight charts for children.
Many parents are scratching their heads wondering what to do to help their children be more active and lose weight. There are some things that will help and some that will do more harm than good.
Things to Avoid While Helping Your Kids Lose Weight
Don’t make an overweight child worry about his weight by calling him out. They will be very aware that they have a weight problem and they don’t need anyone to call them out. Others may already make fun of them, so they need your support more than anything.
Don’t continually try to get overweight kids to join a sports team. They may already be intimidated by their size, so competing in a sport they don’t like and don’t feel competent for is counterproductive.
Do not put your overweight child on a diet. They may be going through puberty and growth phases, so weight is a byproduct and food restriction may not be the answer.
Things that will help your child lose weight
Studies have shown a clear correlation between weight loss in children and positive lifestyle change involving the entire family. If adults set a good example by eating good healthy food at regular times of the day and exercising regularly, overweight children are more likely to follow through and also eat healthy and exercise. This has been shown to be the most important factor in a successful weight loss program for children.
Engage overweight children in regular daily physical activity, such as going to school or parking a few blocks from school and walking. Slowly increase the distance you walk. Walking has been found to provide surprisingly good benefits for those who want to lose weight, as it builds your cardiovascular system while building muscle and burning fat, without overtaxing the body.
If you have a dog, have your overweight child walk the pet every day. So you kill two birds with one stone. It’s great exercise for both your child and your pet!
Eat regular meals and don’t let your child skip breakfast. If kids skip breakfast, they’re more likely to feel hungry long before lunch and snack on unhealthy, fatty foods that quickly gain weight.
Substitute soda and juice for water when possible. Soft drinks and many juices contain large amounts of sugar that will add weight.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals. That increases the metabolism of your children and also prevents them from eating unhealthy food, since there is a healthy meal just around the corner.
So here are some tips to help you help your child lose weight.