How to help your overweight child lose weight
Kids often complain that their friends tease them as fatso or fatty in school. Till then parents always consider their child to be chubby or cutie, but as soon as parents get complain from kids as being teased as fatso, that's when they realize that their kids are more than chubby. Maybe they have put on so much weight that looks abnormal when compared to other kids. If kids are active then parents never get bothered by such weighty issues. But still managing weight is definitely important right from a kid's childhood. If not done at the right age, it may get very difficult later for him or her. The chubbiness in kids becomes a sign of trouble when the parents start worrying about the baby fat which fails to show any sign of disappearance. Normally, toddlers are chubby, which is the result of the baby fat. But as soon as they grow up the baby fat goes away making the kid look leaner yet healthier. However that does not happen with all the kids. In few kids the baby fat refuses to part ways making the kid look different from the rest. In such cases, parents then worry about obesity or over weight issues in children.
It may not be really difficult to know whether your child is overweight. Overweight or obesity is a condition frequently found in humans, both adult and children where any individual's weight is 30 to 40 % above normal. So any child who normally weighs 30 – 40% more than his normal weight is termed as Overweight or Obese. Like for example, if a child normally at his age group should weigh something around 28 kg at the age group of 8 – 9 years and his actual weight presently is 35 kg, he is definitely overweight. So that's how parents can actually whether their child is actually obese or not. A doctor can help confirm this weight issues for your child.
Causes of overweight or obesity in children
A child can get overweight or obese due to the following causes:
- Family history
- Lack of physical exertion
- Overeating or eating an over-sized portion of food
- Consuming more calories than required intake
- Genetic Disorder
- Unhealthy eating orders like eating junk foods
Signs and symptoms of Overweight or obesity in children
Most parents can keep a check on their children and watch for the various signs for obesity in children. Here below are mentioned few signs and symptoms which may define obesity in children:
- Children periodically unfit in their regular clothes and need large sizes.
- Children get extra fat belly or gain weight around their waist
- Several fat deposited areas around the body, like near neck, abdomen, chest,
cheeks, waist and thighs of your child.
- Weighing scale confirms weight gain in children.
- More than normal gain of body mass index. Body mass index is measured with relation to an individual's height and weight.
- Children complain of tiredness
- Children find it difficult to walk and run
- Children look lethargic
- Children look fat as compared to the other children of their group.
- Children complain of breathlessness.
These are few signs and symptoms which may alert a parent that their child needs help with his or her weight issues. Such weight issues may not be very helpful for kids in a long run. Parents can't ignore their child's overweight issues by making excuses that they look strong or hefty and are active and hence don't need help.
Medical conditions a child may develop due to obesity
Due to being overweight or obese a child has risk of developing various medical conditions which include:
- Cholesterol buildup which may result to heart conditions at a very young age.
- High blood pressure problems which can again lead to heart conditions at a very young age.
- Chronic respiratory problems which may result in Asthma at a very young age.
- Diabetes at a very young age.
- Obese children are highly prone to get affected with liver problems
- Overweight or obese children tend to develop sleeping disorders.
- Obese or overweight girls may face menstrual problems, especially at a very early age.
- Obese kids are also known to develop gall bladder stone formation, i.e. gall stones.
Lets discuss few ways on how parents can help their overweight or obese child lose weight.
A regular exercise regimen will always be helpful
Lethargic life can promote obesity. Children who lack in physical activity and generally lead a lethargic life have greater chances of getting overweight. Hence parents need to encourage a healthy and regular exercise regimen in kids. But to do so, parents too should actively participate in this exercise regimen. An aerobic activity or an exercise schedule like family walks, jogging; cycling can be encouraged for the kids to burn his calories. Nowadays frequent use of elevators or lifts has curtailed the use of stairways. Kids use elevators more often and skip climbing stairs. Hence parents should encourage the child to use stairs other than elevators. Other than bike or car rides, small walks to market or school can also be very helpful.
Reduce TV Watching helps fight obesity
Nowadays many kids are more interested in sitting home and watching TV other than playing outside. Kids are found more interested in video games, computer games and cartoons which discourage them from playing outdoor games. Hence parents should encourage kids to participate in outdoor games, other than watching TV at home. Parents should strictly curtail their kid's TV watching hours and computer playing hours.
A balanced and nourishing meal can help lose weight
Parents should encourage kids to eat balanced meals other than junks and unhealthy foods which are loaded with carbohydrates and calories. Prepare a balanced meal which includes equal amount of fiber, carbohydrates, protein and minerals. Include lots of fruits, vegetables in your kid's diet. Other than junks, make him eat fat free snacks as mid time snack or low fat yogurts. Other than binging whole day, plan around 3 to 4 small meals and 2-3 small snacks for the kids.
Top 10 tips for parents to help overweight child lose weight
1. Encourage healthy eating habits not for the child itself, but for the entire family.
2. Regularly monitor your child's weight.
3. Do not starve your kid, for losing his weight. Instead plan some healthy food options other than junk foods.
4. Encourage your child to participate in school sports and other activities like drama or dance.
5. Don't encourage your child to drink aerated drinks like soda, cold drinks etc. Instead encourage your kid to drink water whenever they feel thirsty.
6. Include lots of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables in your cooking. Avoid use of canned foods which are loaded with sugar and extra calories.
7. Never force children to eat if they are not hungry.
8. Limit TV Watching hours for everyone in the family, not just the child.
9. Encourage your child to chew his food and eat slowly.
10. Parents should be a good role model of their kids. Kids finally learn from their parents. They behave as their parents behave. Hence it's all upon the parents to decide how they want their kids to be, and accordingly start behaving the same way.
More articles: Parenting