- high cholesterol
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
Further, studies state that obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Some of them can also develop:
- sleep disorders like sleep apnea (breathing stops and starts during sleep)
- fatty liver
- bone fractures
As they grow older, overweight children face emotional and social issues such as bullying, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
What Can You Do to Manage Your Child’s Weight?
Is my child overweight? If the answer is yes, you can employ several strategies to keep your child within the ideal weight range.
1. Be Healthy
As stated above, your child follows your lead. So, make the conscious decision to lead a more active lifestyle and to switch to a healthier, more balanced diet. Your child will likely emulate your example.
2. Do Things Together as a Family
Instead of surfing the net for several hours, why don’t you walk or jog with your child? You can start by just going around your block. Then you can slowly increase the length and pace of your exercises.
If this does not appeal to you, you can explore other fun physical activities you can do with your child like swimming, dancing, or biking. Encourage them to be active for at least 60 minutes each day. Of course, exercising for more than an hour is better.
The exercise does not have to be done within the hour if your child tires easily. You can do short bursts of activity each hour. The ultimate goal is for your child to move frequently and burn calories.
As to a diet switch, your child may be more amenable to eating fruits and vegetables instead of fast food if your whole family makes the switch.
3. Serve Healthy Food
Since we’re on the topic of fruits and vegetables, try to serve your child at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day.
Slowly wean your child from high-calorie, high-fat, low-nutrition foods by providing alternatives that are just as delicious. For example, buy whole-grain cereals instead of sugary cereals, or give trail mix as snacks instead of potato chips, or treat them to yogurt-based ice cream instead of a full cream-based one.
As to the portions, if restaurants have kiddie meals, your home can have them too. Limit how much your child eats during meal times. You can use your judgment when it comes to how much you’ll be serving, or you can consult a dietitian or a food nutritionist.
4. Limit Screen Time
As you find ways to get your child to be more active, impose rules on TV watching, gaming, or internet surfing. Also, encourage them not to keep their electronic devices in their rooms so that they will not be tempted to play or surf. Make it a rule that their bedrooms at night should be for sleep and not for playing.’
5. Consult Your Doctor
If you’ve implemented a healthier change for your family but your child seems to still retain an unhealthy weight, then it’s time to again consult your pediatrician. Your child may have an underlying condition that needs to be checked.
“Is my child overweight?” you might ask. If they are, you have many options on how to manage your child’s weight. But as the saying goes, prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventing your child from gaining unhealthy weight by providing healthy food and encouraging a healthy lifestyle will go a long way towards your child becoming fitter and more confident.
Learn more about Child Health here.