If your child is overweight or obese, you must be quite worried. Obesity in children is on the rise all over the world.
According to WHO (World Health Organisation), the number of overweight or obese infants and young children (aged 0 to 5 years) increased from 32 million globally in 1990 to 41 million in 2016. In the WHO African Region alone the number of overweight or obese children increased from 4 to 9 million over the same period. A vast majority of overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries. Without interference, obese infants and children will likely continue to be obese during childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Therefore you are quite right in being worried about the health of your child. There are many reasons that can contribute to obesity, such as poor nutrition as a child, feeding your child foods that are rich in sugars and fats, children not going out to play, consumption of junk food and “energy-intensive” glucose rich foods, and even cultural norms such as “a fat baby is a healthy baby”.
If your child is starting to put on weight, you must immediately start looking for solutions as to how to make him healthy again. Obese children are more likely to develop a variety of health problems as adults.
- cardiovascular disease
- insulin resistance (often an early sign of impending diabetes)
- musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints)
- some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon)
Child Lose Weight: 11 Tips to Help Your Overweight Child
Here are some ways in which you can aid your child’s weight loss:
Aerobic activities and sports will help your child expend calories. Walking, jogging, bike riding, rollerblading, swimming, football, basketball, and cricket are all great ways to burn calories. You should also encourage physical activity in your child in other ways such as encouraging him to walk short distances instead of taking the car, and giving him a bicycle to ride instead of a bike. You can also ask him to take the stairs instead of an elevator.
Change your family’s eating habits
Encourage your child to eat only when she is hungry and not as an activity. Children and teens sometimes tend to eat when they are bored or tensed. Serve family meals only in the kitchen or dining room without any other distractions like the television. Do not allow your child to be on her phone while eating. If your child is distracted by something like the TV or her phone while eating, she might not realize how much she’s eating and will end up over-eating, which will lead to putting on weight.
Set achievable goals
Children are always growing rapidly, and it may be a better idea to help them maintain their weight rather than lose it. As your child grows taller without gaining weight, she will naturally become thinner. For more overweight or obese children, a one pound a week weight loss is a good goal. The more they achieve, the more faith they will have in their weight loss and will be able to live with the modifications they have to undertake in order to lose weight. Keep encouraging them and boost their morale.
Try behavior modification/ conditioning
Children will always respond to such a method of administration. A reward system may help inspire your child to stay on her diet and exercise schedule. For example, if your child drinks water instead of soda for a week, reward her with a favorite activity or small toy. Do not reward your child with sweets or chocolates or food of any kind.
Choose healthy and nutritious foods
Encourage your child to eat many small meals each day so she doesn’t go for long periods feeling hungry, which can ultimately lead to binge-eating. Do not allow her to eat large portions of food after going hungry for long periods of time. Fill your pantry with lots of fruits and vegetables and encourage her to drink water. An orange not only has fewer calories than a glass of orange juice, but it is has fiber that can help your child feel more full and satisfied. Offer low fat foods like skim milk and low-fat yogurts or cheeses. For snacks, choose pretzels, pop corn and baked potato chips instead of fried chips or, say, bagels. The latter, although more fulfilling are also full of fat and can undo your progress.
Your child might start losing inspiration after some time. It is your job to keep up her morale and help her to achieve her end goal. Always keep encouraging and inspiring her. If she loses 4 pounds instead of 5 in a week, tell her that that is just as good. She must feel like her diet is working, in order to keep it up. Make sure that you don’t keep a lot of junk foods in the house. Keep cut up carrot sticks and celery as well as fruit on hand. Make healthy low-fat meals for everyone in your home. And most of all, be supportive of your child and provide a lot of encouragement.
Simple training at home
You can encourage your child to take up some simple exercise routines at home. Keep some simple equipment such as dumbbells, skipping ropes, exercising balls at home and try to incorporate those into your child’s routine. It will keep your child motivated to work hard and will also be convenient since she won’t have to join a gym and can work out in the comfort of her home.
If you are sending your child out on a jog in the morning, try and accompany her so she doesn’t feel alone or de-motivated. As a family, change your food habits to include hers too. Cut back on junk food and reduce using oil, cheese and butter in your daily cooking. Add more vegetables and lean meats. Partake in the new and healthy food as a family. This will not only help her to keep up her diet, it will also improve the overall health of your family.
Encourage your child to join some classes that include rigorous physical activities, such as swimming, karate, basketball, dance, etc. This will help her lose weight and she will also feel right at home in a group. Basically, it will be more of a fun activity for her instead of a conscious effort to lose weight, which is more advisable for your child’s mental health.
Maintain a progress record
You can do this via charts you put up on your child’s walls. For every five pounds she loses, keep a mark on her calendar. By and by, she will see the progress she has been making and it will inspire her to get healthier and fitter.
Visit the doctor
Consult your doctor for tips on how to help your child lose weight in a healthy manner. Cutting down suddenly on all calories and carbs might be detrimental to your child’s health, since children have faster metabolism and need to eat more frequently. Therefore, if you are planning to put your child on a diet, consult a doctor about it so that you do it in a healthy and effective way.