If your child is overweight, you need to help him or her lose the extra pounds safely. With your pediatrician's approval, pediatric weight management may include a few modifications to your child's diet. Routine exercise may help your child maintain a healthy weight also. Here are a few "Do's and Don'ts" every parent and child should follow for healthy weight loss goals:
1. Do Prepare Your Child's School Lunches at Home
Brown bagging your child's lunch offers control of what foods and snacks your child is eating. It will be much easier to help your child lose weight if you plan the lunches ahead of time. Have your youngster help by suggesting healthy food choices. Once your child becomes accustomed to bringing lunch from home, it's okay to divulge in a prepared school lunch from the cafeteria on occasion.
2. Don't Go It Alone
If you feel your child needs to lose weight, seek a professional medical opinion. Some children have larger body frames than others who weigh the same. Your child's pediatrician may confirm your child is indeed overweight, or the doctor may explain the child's weight is appropriate for his or her frame and age.
If the doctor suggests your child should lose weight, guidelines will be given. The doctor will probably suggest a healthy weight to strive for, as well as the daily caloric intake you child should receive. If you wish to take it one step further, you might seek the advice of a pediatric dietitian or nutritionist. This trained individual may confer with the pediatrician to create a sensible dietary program that's appropriate for your child's age.
3. Do Develop Healthy Eating Habits for the Entire Family
If the parents and siblings are eating healthy foods and restricting sugar and fat content, it will be easier for the overweight child to lose weight in a sensible way. Support and encouragement should begin at home. The entire family should say no to sweets as in-between snacks, opting for healthier alternatives, such as diced fresh fruit and veggies. Eating sensibly as a family helps ensure your child doesn't feel "singled out".
4. Don't Let Your Child Become a "Couch Potato"
Instead of sitting in front of the TV, munching on potato chips while playing video games, encourage your child to go outside and exercise. Walking, running and playing is a smart way to maintain healthy weight and reap cardiovascular fitness as well. Offer support and encouragement by exercising as a family. You could try biking or hiking together on a weekly basis.
It's always best to seek the doctor's approval before planning any strenuous exercise regimen. Before your child begins an exercise program, have the pediatrician perform an examination to ensure his or her good health. Once you child is given the "green light", be sure he or she sticks to the exercise routine regularly.
5. Do Establish Healthy Portion Sizes
While controlling the daily portion sizes your child consumes may help maintain a healthy weight, it's important to do this in a smart way. Simple measures such as placing foods on smaller plates is a good start, but there's more to it than that. The daily portions your child eats should depend upon his or her age. For example, if your overweight child is seven years old, limit pasta and grains to five ounces per day and dairy to 2.5 cups.
Helping your child lose weight does not have to mean deprivation. Moderation is the key to success, although offering healthier choices should be accomplished through compassion. With persistence, patience and love, you may help your child achieve a healthy weight as well as a positive self-image.
For more information about healthy weight loss, you may want to contact a clinic like Martin Medical Center.