child lose those extra pounds
Healthy eating and physical activity habits are
key to your child's well-being. Eating too much and exercising too
little can lead to overweight and related health problems that can
follow children into their adult years. You can take an active role
in helping your child – your whole family – through
healthy eating and physical activity habits that can last for a
Is my child overweight?
Because children grow at different rates at different times, it
is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. If you think
that your child is overweight, talk to your doctor. He or she can
measure your child's height and weight, and tell you if your child
is in a healthy range.
How can I help my overweight child?
Involve the whole family in building healthy eating and physical
activity habits. It benefits everyone and does not single out the
child who is overweight. Do not put your child on a weight-loss
diet unless your health care provider tells you to. If children
do not eat enough, they may not grow and learn as well as they should.
Tell your child that he or she is loved, is special, and is important.
Children's feelings about themselves often are based on their parents'
feelings about them. Accept your child at any weight. Children will
be more likely to accept and feel good about themselves when their
parents accept them. Listen to your child's concerns about his or
her weight. Overweight children probably know better than anyone
else that they have a weight problem. They need support, understanding
and encouragement from parents.
Encourage healthy eating habits
Buy and serve more fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned).
Let your child choose them at the store. Buy fewer soft drinks and
high fat/high calorie snack foods like chips, cookies and sweets.
These snacks are okay once in a while, but keep healthy snack foods
on hand too, and offer them to your child more often.
Eat breakfast every day
Skipping breakfast can leave your child hungry, tired and looking
for less healthy foods later in the day. Plan healthy meals and
eat together as a family. Eating together at meal times helps children
learn to enjoy a variety of foods.
Eat fast food less often. When you visit a fast
food restaurant, try the healthful options. Offer your child water
or low-fat milk more often than fruit juice. Fruit juice is a healthy
choice, but is high in calories.
|With a little push fresh fruits and kids can
Do not get discouraged if your child will not eat
a new food the first time it is served. Some kids will need to have
a new food served to them ten times or more before they will eat
it. Try not to use food as a reward when encouraging kids to eat.
Promising dessert to a child for eating vegetables, for example,
sends the message that vegetables are less valuable than dessert.
Kids learn to dislike foods they think are less valuable. Start
with small servings and let your child ask for more, if he or she
is still hungry. It is up to you to provide your child with healthy
meals and snacks, but your child should be allowed to choose how
much food he or she will eat.
Healthy snack foods for your child to try:
> Fresh fruit
> Fruit canned in juice or light syrup
> Small amounts of dried fruits such as raisins, apple rings
> Fresh vegetables such as baby carrots, cucumber, zucchini or
> Reduced fat cheese or a small amount of peanut butter on whole-wheat
> Low-fat yogurt with fruit
Encourage daily physical activity
Like adults, kids need daily physical activity. Here are some ways
to help your child move every day:
>Set a good example. If your children see that
you are physically active and have fun, they are more likely to
be active and stay active throughout their lives.
>Encourage your child to join a sports team or class, such as
soccer, dance, basketball, or gymnastics at school or at your local
community or recreation centre.
>Be sensitive to your child's needs. If your child feels uncomfortable
participating in activities like sports, help him or her find physical
activities that are fun and not embarrassing.
>Be active together as a family. Assign active chores such as
making the beds, or washing the car. Plan active outings such as
a trip to the zoo or a walk through a local park. Because his or
her body is not ready yet, do not encourage your pre-adolescent
child to participate in adult-style physical activity such as long
jogs, using an exercise bike or treadmill or lifting heavy weights.
FUN physical activities are best for kids. Kids need a total of
about 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but this does not have
to be all at one time. Short ten or even five minute bouts of activity
throughout the day are just as good. If your children are not used
to being active, encourage them to start with what they can do and
build up to 60 minutes a day.
FUN physical activities for your child
>Riding a bike
>Climbing on a jungle gym
>Swinging on a swing set
>Bouncing a ball
Discourage inactive pastimes
Set limits on the amount of time your family spends watching TV
and videos, and playing video games. Help your child find FUN things
to do besides watching TV, like acting out favourite books or stories,
or doing a family art project. Your child may find that creative
play is more interesting than television. Encourage your child to
get up and move during commercials, and discourage snacking when
the TV is on.
Be a positive role model
Children are good learners and they learn what they see. Choose
healthy foods and active pastimes for yourself. Your children will
see that they can follow healthy habits that last a lifetime.