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My Child Is Overweight—Now What?

The do’s and don’ts for helping your child achieve a healthier weight.

Last week I wrote about the idea of faith-based communities taking a more active role in the fight against childhood obesity. We all know the statistics are rising and the health impacts are endless and relentless on the medical community.

Instead of focusing on the negative statistics and damaging health implications, I would like to focus on ways families can combat childhood obesity and steps parents can take to help their children if they are overweight.

1. Encourage your child to make healthy food choices by modeling a balanced diet yourself. Children mimic and model what you do. Also, you buy the food that comes into the house so choose wisely.

2. Don’t ignore your child’s weight problem. Not addressing the problem won’t make it go away. Research shows that children who are overweight most likely will become overweight or obese adults.

3. Limit the amount of time your child is allowed to view “screens,” meaning TV, videogames, cell phones handheld devices, and iPads.

4. Consider sending your child to a weight loss camp that is focused on lifestyle changes and rather than just losing weight.

5. Plan family meals together and avoid fast food restaurants.

6. Get help from your family physician or a nutritionist. This is a very sensitive subject for children and you don’t want to have your child feel ostracized or unloved because of their weight issue.

7.  Explore creative ways to exercise more and consume fewer calories.  Choosemyplate.gov has some great tips for parents and caregivers on how to exercise, eat a balanced diet and manage your weight.

8. Seek out support groups and learn from other parents.

Every parent wants their child to grow up healthy and happy. Helping your child develop healthy eating habits and a love for movement and activity is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It starts with you, being a good supportive role model. If your child does develop a weight problem, be proactive in helping them achieve a natural and healthy weight goal. Utilize the resources in your community, work with an expert, and be the hero your child needs to get them through this tough situation.

Here is a link to some kid wisdom. I hope you enjoy the humor, but appreciate the reality of this YouTube video by Kaiser.

Paul Gallegos March 07, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I see this problem in school everyday. I try to model what I eat in front of the kids. Vegetables such as carrots and cherry tomatoes are actually a big hit with the kids. Loquats are an excellent source of vitamin C. These fruit trees are on every block in Imperial Beach and most go unused. The kids at school really want to eat healthy because they are always asking me to bring in a bag of oranges, loquats, or carrots without ranch dressing. Model good eating habits and couple it with a lot of fun exercises--bike riding, swimming, surfing, walking on the beach and the kids will start to see a difference. If you have butt prints in your couch, then the result is obvious. Adding 5 pounds a year to your body will result in 50 extra pounds in 10 short years.
aaronmatthews March 07, 2012 at 10:29 AM
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LemonGroove March 09, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Of course we have to model what we eat in front of our children. You can't drink soda, get diabetes then expect them not to. There are great programs out there. Kaiser has KP kids, fabulous. Really worked for my child, because no matter what I said and did, it wasn't until a dietitian and Doctors spoke to the kids and showed what was good to eat and what wasn't did it get through to them. Positive reinforcement with easily attainable goals, like letting them pick a red light food (junk,fat sugar) that they will not eat for a week. Exercise was a large part of the program, but the main thing was not to park your butt in front of the computer or tv, but to Get Moving! Muevete! The USDA has a great website called MyPlate and it's simple to use. Remember, fill half of your plate with vegetables, 1/4 with a starch, and 1/4 with protein, and a glass of 1% or nonfat milk, and you have the perfect diet for your child. Simple! I'm in my late 40's am totally overweight, but now exercising and watching my diet. Whenever I see kids buying flaming hot cheetos, I point out to my big belly and say, "You eat these now, you get this later." Their eyes bug out and they put down the bag, but they will sneak over to the 99 cent store and buy more later, I'm sure. Theirs will be the first generation that will be less healthy than prior generations. It's very sad but we've all seen the kool-aid or soda filled baby bottles with the 3 year olds being pushed in a stroller. Education!

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