Childhood Overweight and Obesity: How to Help Your Child Reach a Healthy Weight

Healthy Weight
Children need a certain number of calories to grow and develop Healthy Weight. But if a child takes in more calories than he expends, the body stores these extra calories as fat. In healthy children, weight gain is more common because the child takes in more calories than he expends.

Why is it important for my child to develop good eating and exercise habits?

Good nutrition and regular exercise can help your child reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight. Teach your child good eating and exercise habits when he is young. Those good habits will continue to benefit your child as he grows into an adult. Staying fit helps prevent health problems that can lead to overweight or obesity later in life, including:
  • Heart disease
  • Mellitus diabetes
  • Arterial hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Some types of cancer.
  • Severe obesity can cause liver problems and arthritis.
An overweight or obese child can also be bullied or bullied because of her weight. He may feel bad about his body or feel isolated and alone. These feelings can hinder a child’s ability to learn, make friends, and interact with others. It is important for parents to model healthy behaviors for their children. Support your child as he works toward a healthy weight. Use language that describes being healthy and strong. Avoid language directed at weight loss, dieting, and achieving a certain size. Above all, be positive and encouraging.

Path to better Health Weight

By teaching and encouraging healthy eating habits, you give your child important tools for healthy living. You can shape your child’s vision of healthy eating by leading by example. Help your child make healthy food choices. Be a good role model. Choose healthy foods and snacks for yourself. Keep healthy snacks (for example, fruits like apples and bananas, and raw vegetables like carrots and celery) around the house. Include a wide variety of low-fat proteins, vegetables, and whole grains in the meals you eat. Be persistent in your efforts to introduce healthy food options. Children don’t always accept new things right away. By continuing to offer healthy options, you increase the chances that your child will develop healthy eating habits. Teach your child to make healthy choices for school meals. Avoid eating fast food. If you eat at a fast-food restaurant or walk-in, choose the healthiest options available. Forget the ‘clean plate rule’. Have your child stop eating when he is satisfied.

How can I encourage my child to exercise more?

As a parent or primary caregiver, you have a lot of influence over your child. Even if you don’t realize it, what you do affects the decisions he or she makes. If your child sees that you are physically active on a regular basis, he is more likely to be active, too. Make physical activity a part of your family’s regular routine. For example, you can walk the dog every morning or play basketball every night before dinner. Find physical activities that you enjoy doing as a family. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends that children get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day. The AAFP encourages parents and schools to make exercise a priority. Prolonged periods of physical inactivity at home or at school are not recommended.

Limit screen time

Limit your child’s screen time to no more than 1-2 hours per day. Screen time includes playing videos or computer games, surfing the Internet, texting, and watching TV or DVDs. Set a good example by limiting your own screen time as well.

Aspects to consider

Note any changes in your child’s usual eating or exercise habits. For example, does your child seem to eat out of boredom, comfort, or in response to other emotions? This behavior is called “emotional eating.” Emotional eating can lead to weight gain. It could also be a sign that your child is having trouble dealing with feelings like depression or stress. Watch for symptoms of an eating disorder, such as being overly concerned about calories, being concerned about body weight, not eating at all, overeating, or exercising excessively. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are rare in children but can occur. The risk increases as the child becomes an adolescent and young adult.
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