Childhood obesity is becoming an increasing health concern in the United States as well as in other countries. Obesity can lead to many health challenges that can last a lifetime, such as Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.
Dieting and limiting food consumption rarely work with children as they are extremely clever and will find a way to consume food, often without a parents’ knowledge. After making several failed attempts to help their child lose weight, concerned parents will often bring their overweight child to my practice to seek alternative, nutritional weight loss suggestions.
One important factor that I always suggest to parents is really quite simple: in order for a child to want to lose weight, they have to “buy in” to the idea and parents or guardians have to commit to be their strongest supporter during the process. Here are some effective ways for weight loss:
Nutritional education – Children and parents alike should learn to read food labels. Foods high in sugar will convert to fat quicker than low or no sugar foods. Ideally, foods that contain 5 grams or less of sugar are the best. Never exceed 10 grams of sugar per serving. Include your child in the choices whenever possible.
Make it fun – especially for younger children. One creative mom made Shrek popsicles when she could not get her kids to eat a healthy breakfast. She juiced green veggies, added a high quality protein powder.
Make gradual changes – Replace sugary, junk food, or high carbohydrate snacks with healthier ones. Initially, buy your child’s favorite cereal in an organic, lower sugar alternative. You may have to mix the two until they become accustomed to the lower sugar cereal. Don’t change the choices immediately; instead trade them for better options.
Patience is a virtue – as a parent or guardian, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your overweight child has the best chance for healthy, permanent weight loss. Be patient but persistent! The earlier you begin in your child’s development, the easier it will be to make a long term difference!
??? What successes or challenges have you had with an overweight child?