Children and Weight Loss: How to Help Your Child or Preteen Lose Unhealthy Weight

chocolate cake 300x284 Children and Weight Loss: How to Help Your Child or Preteen Lose Unhealthy WeightStatistics indicate that the number of children who are obese has more than doubled in the last ten years.  Children are eating more and exercising less than ever, and the health consequences to kids and adolescents can be devastating.

Childhood obesity causes a wide range of health and social problems, many of which will follow overweight children into adulthood.  Kids who are too fat are at risk for type II diabetes, heart disease, emotional problems, and orthopedic issues such as bowed legs and curvature of the spine.

Getting to the heart of the problem and helping your kids achieve a healthy body weight early on gives them the best chance at good health, in their childhood years and beyond.  The following suggestions can help you to teach your kids good habits that will last them a lifetime.

Make healthy eating a priority

Take charge of your family’s eating habits by filling your fridge and cabinets with nutritious foods.  Offer healthy snacks, like wheat crackers with low-fat cheese, carrot sticks, yogurt, and fruit.  Make sweet desserts an occasional treat, and skip sodas and sweetened juice beverages in favor of water, milk, and natural, 100% fruit juice.

Get your kids involved with planning and preparing healthy meals.  Children are more likely eat a meal they have helped to cook, and getting dinner together is a great way to fit in some quality family time.

Pack their lunches for school, rather than relying on the lunch program.  Stay away from fast food restaurants, or learn to order the healthier menu choices if you must resort to the drive-thru.

Get physical

Instead of spending family time in front of the television, get outside with your kids.  Whether you take a walk or bike ride, play a game of backyard kickball, or take up skating together, engaging in fun physical activities is the best way to teach your children to enjoy exercise.

Don’t offer food as a reward

Using food to soothe their hurts or reward their accomplishments sets them up associate eating with their emotions.  Seeing food as a source of comfort leads to overeating, both during childhood and later on in life.

Set an example yourself

Young children, as you know, learn by imitation.  If you spend all your free time tossing back chips and soda in front of the television, your kids are not going to be healthy and active.  Encourage them to eat right and stay active by doing the same yourself.

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