Eight easy tips against child obesity

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

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The number of children who are obese or overweight is growing at an alarming rate. Extra pounds increase the risk of serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma. Obesity of the child also increases the emotional stress on the fragile psyche of the child. Due to overweight the child is often teased and does not want to play with him, and this can lead to low self-esteem and depression. But you can help your child lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4]

Risk factors for obesity in children

Overweight and obesity of children arise on the basis of serious health problems, such as:

  • diabetes mellitus type 2
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diseases of bones and joints
  • asthma
  • restless sleep
  • liver and gallbladder disease
  • depression and low self-esteem 

Children who are unhappy with their weight may also be more prone to eating disorders and substance abuse. Diagnosis and treatment of overweight and obesity in children should be carried out as early as possible, this can reduce the risk of serious diseases. Regardless of the weight of your children, let them know that you love them and all you want to do is help them to be healthy and happy.

Is your child overweight?

Children grow at different speeds and at different times, so it's not always easy to say if the child is overweight. The body mass index (BMI) is a measurement of height and weight, and then, according to a special formula, you can estimate how much fat in the body of the child. But although the body mass index is a good indicator, it is not an ideal measure of body fat accumulation in the body and can be misleading in some situations. For example, BMI can be difficult to interpret during puberty, when children are experiencing a stage of rapid growth.

If your child has a high BMI recorded - this may be age-related changes, then the doctor may need additional data. This can be an assessment of diet, physical activity, hereditary obesity and other medical examinations. The doctor can also diagnose other diseases that can be the cause of childhood obesity.

Causes of obesity in children

If you clearly understand why children are overweight, there is an opportunity to break this vicious circle. In most cases, obese children simply eat too much fatty and sweet food and move too little. Children need enough calories to maintain healthy growth and development. But when children consume more calories than they use during the day, their weight increases. Many factors contribute to the growing imbalance of calories and their use

  1. In the family, everyone eats more than necessary.
  2. Easy access of the child to cheap food, high-calorie fast foods and fatty cakes.
  3. Portions are more than necessary, both in school and at home.
  4. Children spend less time for active outdoor games, and watch TV more, play computer games.
  5. Many schools do not practice active physical activity.

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Myths and truth about the problems of weight and obesity in children

Myth. Childhood obesity is a genetic breakdown, so there's nothing you can do about it.

True. Human genes do affect weight, but they are just one of the reasons. Although some children are more prone to weight gain than others, this does not mean that they will really have weight problems. Most children with negative heredity can maintain a healthy weight if they eat right and move a lot.

Myth. Children who are obese or overweight should be put on a diet.

True. If there is no doctor's recommendation for a diet, you do not need to torment your child. The goal should not be exhaustion of the body, but slowing or stopping obesity, which allows your child to remain at his ideal weight.

Myth. A child who in childhood was fat, will remain so at an older age. You do not need to do anything - nothing happens.

True. Childhood obesity does not always lead to obesity at an older age, but this is an increased risk of being full in the future. Therefore, you need to deal with the health of the child since school. This will give him the opportunity to put his weight in order and control him in the future.

Council number 1. Let the whole family participate in losing weight

Healthy habits start with the atmosphere at home. The best way to fight overweight or prevent childhood obesity is to put the whole family on a treadmill. Or let it be any other sport. Sports and a conscious choice of food will benefit everyone, regardless of weight. And then for the child it will be much easier to make long-term changes in diet and physical activity.

The most effective way to influence your child is by example. If your children see that you eat vegetables, you are active, you limit your time in front of the TV and computer, there is a great chance that they will do the same. These habits will help maintain a healthy weight to you, too.

What you eat? Tell the child about the healthy food that you eat, while you are at the table. You can say, "I eat broccoli with garlic sauce." Do you want a snack? "

How do you cook? Prepare healthy food for your children. Better yet, tell them what you are doing and why it's good for the body.

How are you doing? Do exercises every day. Tell the children what you are doing and why, and invite them to join you.

How do you spend your free time? Avoid television or computer games. Children will not watch TV if their parents are engaged in something more interesting, and will definitely join you.

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Council number 2. Apply weight loss strategies for you and your child

Council number 2.  Apply weight loss strategies for you and your child

Control your leisure and leisure time for your child. You can turn off the TV and video games. You can get off the bus one stop earlier than usual, and go the rest of the way on foot, especially when you are with the children. You can cook your family more vegetables for dinner.

Think about the health benefits. If reducing the risk of heart disease seems to you to be something abstract, focus on the good things that can happen right now. You will not feel hungry if you eat less or refuse dessert. Instead of a fruit salad cake, you can taste great, and looks beautiful. Walking with your teenage child can give you both the pleasure of wonderful conversations that you did not even expect. Dancing or playing with your children is very fun and will lose weight quite unnoticeably.

Make easy changes gradually. You can start with new approaches to nutrition and physical activity, which the whole family is really ready to try. For example, instead of turning on the TV a few days a week to walk after dinner. And instead of chocolate cake with icing enjoy a sliced strawberry with sour cream.

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Council number 3. Organize a healthy diet at home

Start eating right today, with the whole family. It is very important that the whole family is hooked on the idea of healthy eating at home and in other places - for example, at a picnic. To help your child conquer obesity, you need to help him develop a healthy attitude to eating. You may have to make major changes to your overall family life.

Eat salads. Encourage the consumption of a variety of vegetables and fruits. They should be colored - red (beets, tomatoes), orange (carrots, pumpkins), yellow (potatoes, bananas), green (lettuce, broccoli). Such salads are called iridescent. They give a lot of pleasure to the child because of the beautiful appearance and pleasant taste.

Make breakfast a priority. Children who have breakfast are less likely to suffer from overweight or obesity than those who miss the first meal. Focus on a healthy choice of dishes such as oatmeal, fresh fruit, whole grains of cereals and low-fat milk.

Reduce your intake of fat. Your child, of course, needs fats - they need it for proper development and growth. But these fats must come from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils. Do not in any way keep the reverse course for fast food, unhealthy smoked and salted food and sweets.

Establish a clear meal schedule. If your children know that they will eat at a certain time, they are more likely to eat what they are prepared than with a messy meal.

Have supper at home. If you want to eat, avoid fast food and convenience foods and prepare at home - family dinners can become a very good, health-friendly tradition.

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Tip # 4. Reasonably treat sweets

It is vitally important for your child that your kitchen combines healthy food and at the same time was a source of pleasure for him. Therefore, you do not need to completely forbid sweets - it will not be too useful. Moreover, glucose is necessary for a child to work the brain.

Do not prohibit sweets completely. You can not deprive the child of the usual joy, this is a great psychological stress for him. Just choose more expensive sweets that do not use palm oil and trans fats.

Replace juice with soda. But it does not have to be store juices - they contain too much sugar, which contributes to weight gain. It should be natural fresh. Which is now easy to make from an apple, carrot or tomato on a food processor.

Include in the diet of the child more fruit. Keep the fruit bowl on the table so that at any time the child can have a snack. In winter it can be juices, fruit cocktails, frozen bananas in chocolate and nuts, strawberries and whipped cream, as well as sliced apples.

What foods need to be introduced into the diet, and what to reduce?

Lou chshie products Cut these products
Fresh fruits and vegetables Soda, sweetened lemonade, fruit punch, fruit juices with the addition of sugar.
Dairy with low fat or skim milk, sour cream, kefir, cheese. Hot dogs, fatty meat, sausages, chicken nuggets.
Bread from whole grains and cereals, biscuits with low fat content. White bread, sweet breakfast cereals, chips.
 Low-fat chilled yogurt, frozen fruit juice, rice, ginger  Cookies, cakes, sweets, ice cream, donuts.

 Tip # 5 Reduce serving sizes

There are methods that you can use to satisfy your family's appetites, and at the same time give everyone enough calories.

Normal portion - what is it? What you are used to eating usually can be equal to two or three normal servings. A normal serving is the amount of food the size of a fist.

Read the labels on the products. Information on portions and calories can be found on the backs of the package. You may be surprised at how little recommended serving or how many calories in the dish.

Use small plates. Portions will look bigger, and the child will eat less if you use small bowls or plates.

Divide the food into smaller portions. The more a portion, the more children are inclined to eat it completely, without realizing it.

Reduce the order in the cafe. When you are not eating at home, share your meal with your child or order a snack instead of a high-calorie second course. Order half the portion instead of the whole.

Council number 6. Let your child move more

Children who sit too much and move too little risk being overweight. Children should exercise at least an hour a day. It may seem that this is too much, but exercises can not be done all at once. Urine charging is 15-20 minutes, in the evening - charging or jogging and day walking or walking children's games.

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Ideas for children's exercises

Previously, it was common for children to run and play on the streets, spending a lot of energy and supporting weight. In the modern world, especially in megacities, this is not always possible. If your children do not have much open air, there are options for increasing their level of activity.

Spend active games indoors. These games can take place at home and in the gym. The game of hide and seek, skipping rope, fast walking are great activities for the child. You can buy simulators and put them in the child's room. This can be a Swedish wall, a treadmill or a bicycle simulator.

Walk along the street with your child. Walk together on foot, organize a bike trip around the city, explore the local park, visit the playground or play with the child in the yard.

Work together with household chores. As you know, cleaning with a vacuum cleaner and washing the floors is an excellent aerobic load on the body. If your child will help you more at home, he will be able to burn a huge amount of calories.

Write the child to a sports school or to a dance. If your budget allows, write down the children for training. The best kind of sport for a fat child can be swimming. It relieves the load from the spine, ligaments and joints and simultaneously allows the child to spend a large number of calories.

Council number 7. Form the child's TV viewing culture

The more time your children spend in front of the TV, play video games, sit at the computer, the less time they spend on active games. Restrictions on watching TV and sitting at the computer will cause the child to spend more time in the gym or outdoors. But consider the fact that you may have to reduce your own time to watch TV and change the attitude.

Limit time to watch TV. Studies show the connection between time spent on the television screen and obesity, so set restrictions on TV programs for your child and web surfing. Experts recommend watching TV for a child no more than two hours a day.

Stop standing in front of the TV. Consumption of excess calories by your child can be limited by forbidding him to eat in front of the TV. Tell the child that, from now on, your whole family is eating at the table in the room where there is no TV.

Think of an alternative to the TV. Instead of spending more time with your child in front of a television or computer, promise him something else, such as a walk or a session of his choice. For example, paint or together go to the swing.

Encourage the child to new hobbies. Serious changes in the way of life of a child is stress. Therefore, these new changes should be pleasant and useful to him. From time to time a child who is overweight or obese can feel sad, angry, confused or angry. Previously, he struggled with stress when he ate in front of the TV or played computer games. But now the child is deprived of this unhealthy pleasure. Since this is not an option, help your child find a healthy alternative. Ask what he would like to do as a hobby. Hobbies can help children increase their self-esteem, reduce stress, and provide a healthy way out of stress.

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Council number 8. Spare no time for your child

You can have a huge impact on the health of your children if you take an active part in their lives.

Speak more often with your children. Ask them about how their school day went, do it every day. Listen to their problems and take action as soon as necessary.

Be in contact with teachers. Talk with your child's teachers, either personally or by phone. Ask them if the child has any problems at school.

Spend time with your children. You do not have to spend all your time on the baby, because you are probably working. But you need to allocate this time every day at least an hour a day in the morning and how much you can - in the evening. A joint game, reading, cooking or any other activities that you do together can help your child improve their self-esteem, feel secure and secure. And the excess weight of the child will be defeated.

trusted-source[33], [34], [35]

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