Sep 2, 2009

Children Overweight Problems

Help your child Cope with being overweight

Healthy eating habits and physical activity are essential to your child’s well-being. Eating too much and exercising too little may lead to your child becoming overweight and susceptible to related health problems later on in life.

Children grow at different rates at different times, so it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. If you think your child is overweight, talk to your doctor, who can tell you whether your child’s weight and height are within a healthy range.

Your doctor can help you evaluate your child’s weight using growth charts that take into account factors such as age, sex, maturity level, ethnicity, and physical activity. Besides physical activity and food choices, the most critical factors in weight gain / loss, include genetics and social influences.

One of the best ways to help your child deal with being overweight is by involving the whole family in developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. This benefits everyone without singling out the child who is overweight.

Other Tips Includes:

  1. Do not put your child on a diet unless your doctor tells you to. If children do not eat enough, they may not grow and learn as well as they should.

  1. Tell your child that he or she is loved, special and important. Children’s feelings about themselves are often based on how they think their parents feel about them.

  1. Listen to your child’s concerns abut his or her weight. Overweight children probably know better than anyone else that they have a weight problem. They need support, understanding and encouragement.

  1. Encourage healthy eating habits by serving more fruit and vegetables, fewer soft drinks and avoiding high calories foods such as chips, cookies, candy and fast food.

  1. Kids need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but this does not have to happen all at once. Several short 10 or even five minute periods of activity throughout the day are just a good.

  1. If your child feels uncomfortable participating in activities like sports, help him or her find physical activities that are fun and not embarrassing , such as playing tag, skipping, or dancing to his or her favorite music.

  1. Be active as a family. Assign active chores such as making beds, washing the car, or vacuuming. Plan outings such as a trip to the zoo, a family bike ride, or a walk in the park.

By Dr. Shazia Erum Choudhary: The writer is Consultant Dietician and Nutritionists, Dr. Ziauddin University, Clifton Campus, Karachi.

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