A child with a weight problem has a higher risk of continuing the weight problem on into adulthood, states the University of Michigan website. Obesity carries significant health issues for adults, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, so if you can resolve weight problems during childhood, you do your child a favor. Motivate and encourage your child to lose weight, providing positive support for a healthier lifestyle.
Make an appointment with your child’s physician to receive professional input and guidance regarding your child’s weight, suggests the MedlinePlus website. The physician can speak with your child about health issues. The physician can also provide recommendations and referrals to other professionals such as dieticians and exercise therapists who can provide ongoing support for your child.
Approach the process of losing weight as “getting healthier” instead of “losing weight.” By removing the focus on weight and placing it on health, it may be easier for a child to accept the lifestyle changes and maintain them. The changes should not be unpleasant and overly restrictive. Rather, they should be based on healthful eating and activity levels, suggests the WebMD website.
Enlist the entire family in involvement of a healthier lifestyle. Whether other family members have weight problems or not, everyone can benefit from more physical activity. Institute fun family activities, such as walks, bike rides and swimming. You might even consider purchasing a family membership at a fitness center and using the facilities together as a family.
Eliminate unhealthy food from the kitchen to remove temptation. Plan healthier meals for the family. Shop together to fill the grocery cart with healthy food choices that your child will find appetizing and appealing. Shopping together also helps you teach your child how to choose healthier foods, suggests the MedlinePlus website.
Maintain a positive outlook about becoming healthier, suggests the University of Michigan website. Strive to motivate each other during the process of learning new habits and avoiding old habits. Set a positive example of eating healthy foods and exercising.
Pack healthy lunches that will be appealing to your child. Make sure you add enough healthy snacks in the lunch to keep your child from feeling an urge to splurge at school.
Provide positive encouragement and feedback when your child succeeds in making healthy choices. Every time he chooses a healthy snack or heads outdoors to move around, make a positive comment about his efforts.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids between 2 and 10 years of age should strive to maintain weight and grow into current weight. Older kids can strive for a weight loss of one to two pounds each week.
- University of Michigan: Obesity and Overweight
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Supporting Your Child With Weight Loss
- WebMD: Safe Weight Loss for Overweight Kids
- Healthy Children.org: Safe Weight Loss and Weight Gain for Young Athletes
- Healthy Children.org: Losing Weight Safely, Sensibly, Successfully
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images