Childhood obesity is a problem that comes complete with media coverage and public attention. Health professionals and opportunist businessmen alike have published information, some of it quality and some of it not, on childhood obesity’s causes and cures. Health risks aside, childhood is hard enough without having to endure the cruelty of other children. Being obese can make your child a target for hate and violence, both physical and verbal, from his or her peers. There are ways you can help your child to make healthy choices and safeguard not only his or her life-long physical health, but also his or her mental and emotional health as well. This is why we’ve assembled these tips on how to lose weight for kids.
The first and most important thing you can do to help your child lose weight is to set a good example. Children of all ages will naturally take after the behavior of their parents, consciously or subconsciously, and whether or not you see the behavior in yourself. If you eat junk food, take irregular meals, and don’t exercise, then your children will be more likely to do the same. If you avoid healthy behavior because you are too busy, they will make excuses that may prevent them from losing weight.
Second, educate your child about healthy food choices. Take your child to the grocery store with you, and allow them to explore new and different foods. Avoid the snack and soda aisles altogether; instead, linger in the produce section. Pick out interesting and easy-to-eat fruits like melons, tangerines, and kiwi. It is as easy to peel a banana as it is to unwrap a candy bar—and it creates less waste in landfills. If snack foods are a must, investigate new varieties of granola and yogurt. Dairy snacks, other than fatty cheeses, can increase your child’s calcium intake and prevent your child from choosing sugary snack foods. Teach your child how to read the nutritional information labeling on packaged foods and how to avoid foods that are high in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. Education is the best prevention; just like an adult, your child must learn how to lose weight fast before he or she can do it.
Next, control the food in your house and how it is accessed. Be the authority on what food is bought and kept available; if there is no soda in the house, your children will drink juice or milk instead. If there is no bag of chips in the pantry, they will choose the available fruit or vegetables. You may not be able to control what your children eat when they are at school or with friends, but you can control what they have at home. Also, keep food in the kitchen, instead of allowing snacks to travel with your child to the television or computer. This will not only prevent snacking during times of low activity, which contributes to weight gain instead of weight loss, but it will also keep your home cleaner and your furniture clear of spills. Remember to set an example in this, too; if your child can’t have a soda and a candy bar on the sofa while watching television, neither should you. The only way these tips on how to lose weight for kids will work is if you apply them in your and your kid’s life.
Fourth, control your child’s serving sizes. Choose what goes onto the dinner plate, and keep the serving dishes in the kitchen, where it is more difficult to take seconds. The convenience of food is a major factor in the choice of what to eat. Exactly as you control what food is in your house, you can subtly influence how much your child chooses to eat. If your child asks for seconds, it is okay to allow this to a certain extent. But by placing the serving plates away from the table, this requires your child to think more about requesting seconds than he or she would, if all that was necessary was to reach across the table.
Limit the time your child spends in front of the television, playing video games, and using the computer. There are numerous studies linking excess use of recreational technology to childhood obesity, and also to low grades, motivation problems, violent behavior, and various other problems. By setting a time limit for television and electronic games, you can help your child avoid all of these problems with one strategy. While there is no question that computers are a useful tool for learning and communicating with others, it is necessary to prevent your child from using them mostly as toys.
Encourage your child to take up outdoor hobbies. Sunlight helps your child process vitamins. By being out of the house, your child is more likely to socialize with peers; though you may not be able to control the language and ideas your child is exposed to you are not at his or her side, you will see your child become more independent and well-adjusted. If your child does not enjoy sports, perhaps they could enjoy simple building projects, gardening, or working on the car with you. These activities can provide valuable bonding time, and will also help your child avoid inactive indoor hobbies like watching television or pestering his or her siblings.
Finally, create a routine. The human body thrives on consistency, and this alone can help your child lose weight as his or her body adjusts to the lower stress. See that your child wakes at the same time every day, has a time set aside for homework, a time for exercise, and a time for reading or relaxing before it is time for bed. Serve meals at more or less the same time every evening. The structure provided can be good for your child’s mental and emotional security, as well as for physical health.
Remember, of all tips on how to lose weight for kids, the best thing you can do to help your kids is to set a good example. If your kids see you exercising regularly and making healthy choices, they will learn that these behaviors are important—and it may help you live healthier, too!