7 solutions to help your overweight child lose weight
The obesity epidemic continues to be a global health crisis. The CDC estimates that two-thirds of the adults in the United States are obese while one-third of the children and adolescents are obese. When children are overweight, they are more likely to have weight problems as adults. This puts them at a higher risk for serious conditions such as sleep apnea, joint problems, poor self-esteem, stroke, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
As a parent of an overweight child, you have the responsibility to help them change. If you want to prevent your kids from becoming another obesity statistic, you may want to consider including some of the following weight loss solutions. You have the power to change your family’s daily routines and diet.
1. Enroll them in weight loss camp
At a certain point, helping your child lose weight may be beyond your expertise or abilities. Weight loss camps are made for these situations. The educational programs and activities within these organizations can help your child lose weight and understand what it means to live a healthier lifestyle.
“Most kids won’t take the initiative and alter their eating habits on their own,” says David Ettenberg, director and founder of Camp Shane, which is a weight loss camp for kids. “Undergoing weight reconditioning and education at a specialized camp can incite better habits and attitudes in kids. This can benefit them for years to come.”
It is difficult for a child who is eating too many calories a day to change their habits. They have access to food at home, school, vending machines and other locations. Although you may be able to control some of their diet, smart kids are still able to sneak in the junk food they love. Studies support that a change of environment, portion-controlled meals, nutrition education and exercise can help children lose weight and maintain it.
2. Change family eating habits
Success in childhood weight loss can only be achieved when the entire family is behind it. Modifying their food and exercise habits is difficult for children when the rest of the family is eating whatever they want in front of them. In addition, this type of family situation can damage the child’s self esteem.
You want to hold family meetings in which each member discusses his or her goals for making better food choices. You have to choose to eat out less frequently and include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. The entire family has to make a commitment to change.
3. Modify free time behaviors
What do your children do in their free time? Playing video games, watching television and lounging on the sofa can lead to weight gain in children. Even a fast metabolism cannot prevent obesity if the children are leading a sedentary lifestyle.
You have to require your children to spend some of their free time in active behaviors. If they like to play video games, then let them play a game that requires physical activity such as dancing. You can also ask them to spend time outside, or do chores to help increase their activity levels. You can let them watch a little TV or play a video game after they exercise.
4. Make exercise fun
Exercise has a reputation of being hard and boring, but you can teach kids that it can be fun, so it will be easier to get them to stay active. At least once per day, go outside with your family and play an active game such as freeze tag, sharks and minnows or Frisbee. By including exercise props like medicine balls, hula-hoops, exercise balls, bubble wrap and other unique tools, you can teach children to love exercise. Kids do not mind being active when it is disguised as a game.
5. Require participation in a sport or other activities
You want your children to pick sports that they can participate in throughout the year. They can include volleyball, basketball, dance, football, cheerleading, soccer, wrestling, cross-country, track or another team sport they enjoy. Organized sports teach kids the importance of staying active, eating right and playing on a team. These are skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. However, even taking walks or riding a bike brings benefits.
“I want my children to be the best version of themselves,” says Shari Medini, a freelance writer for the Huffington Post. “I want them to be happy, healthy, and successful; and I truly believe that sports teach the life skills necessary to make that happen!”
6. Teach about healthy eating and exercise
Education is often the key to raising healthier children. It is important to teach them how to eat healthy and exercise before obesity becomes a problem, but it can still be useful after weight is an issue. You want to focus on practicing what you preach, so kids can see how to put the knowledge into practice.
7. Avoid the word diet
There is a common issue related to people believing dieting and eating healthy are the same thing. However, this is not what you want to teach your children. Dieting should not be emphasized. Eating healthy and exercising will help kids control their weight and teach them to recognize the importance of fueling their bodies with the right foods.
You can create a healthier lifestyle for your family and children. Your kids may need extra help in their weight loss battle, and it is important to ask for assistance instead of expecting them to do everything alone. You may want to talk to their pediatrician and come up with a plan to help them.
Image from Pixabay.com and used with permission.