If your child is overweight, there is a lot you can do to help him or her maintain a healthy weight growing up. Here are some tips you can start from today.
"It doesn't matter, let him eat so he can grow, he has years ahead of him to pay attention to his diet". This is the most common misconception parents have when their children have a higher than average weight for their age. Unfortunately, the extra pounds of a child do not necessarily transform as they become taller, and experts no longer feel it is the right thing to be indifferent to excess weight. In fact, they now recommend stricter measures to curb excess weight gain in order to prevent childhood obesity. The first step is to change the eating habits of your child and to integrate physical activity in their daily life. We have put together easy steps that you can start today in order to help your child maintain a healthy weight early in life.
Be a good role model: One of the best ways for your child to start good habits is to have a good role model. By eating healthy and exercising yourself, you encourage your child to do the same. Changes to your child's diet and lifestyle are more likely to be accepted when they are gradual and involve the whole family.
Offer them a sport
Overweight children do not need to do more physical activity than leaner ones. Their extra weight means they will burn more calories for the same activity. All children need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health.
Avoid large portions
Start giving meals in smaller portions, allowing your child to ask for more helpings if he is still hungry. Try not to force your child to finish everything on the plate or force them to consume more than they want. Also, encourage him to eat slowly. Meals should be taken together with the whole family.
Children, like adults, should aim to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Almost all fruits and vegetables count whether they are fresh, canned, frozen or dried. Juices and smoothies also count. Discourage your child from having high-fat and high-sugar foods such as sweets, cakes, cookies, some cereals and soft drinks.
Less screen time and more sleep
Along with tips for moving more, there is also a need to reduce the time children spend prostrate or lying down. Limit the time they spend in front of the TV, playing video games or playing with other electronic devices. Remember that the less they sleep, the greater the risk of becoming obese. Lack of sleep can also affect their mood and behavior.
Research has shown that children who have a healthy weight tend to be in better shape, healthier, learn more easily, have more confidence and are much less likely to have health problems later in life. They are also less likely to have low self-esteem or to be bullied.
Question: How can I reduce my child's chocolate consumption?
First of all, do not have large quantities of chocolate at home and avoid having it in the sight of your children. Do not offer chocolate as a reward. Try to combine it with healthy foods, such as chocolate covered fruit or low-fat chocolate milk.
Nutritional tip: Aim for your child to consume most of the calories he gets daily from healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, and starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta and rice (preferably whole grains).
Chara Malioti - Project Xealth
Clinical dietitian, specializing in Eating Disorders
Tel. 22256006, firstname.lastname@example.org