How to Promote Weight Loss in Children
Weight loss is hard enough for adults, but for kids, the idea of counting calories can seem simply impossible. The trick is finding fun and interesting ways to spur weight loss for children, as well as being diligent in your parenting techniques. Whether your child is overweight, or you are just looking for ways to maintain a healthy weight for all members of your family, there are many methods available to promote weight loss in your children, and every member of you family.
The following are some ways that you can help encourage weight loss in your children, while spending quality time together as a family:
- Eat as a family - Between work, family, the house, and other things that come up in everyday life, it can be difficult to schedule in healthy meals. Because of this, many families rely on fast food or processed convenience foods. Kids learn to expect and even crave these high sugar, high fat foods, and as a result they can start putting on the pounds. To counteract this and help keep it from becoming a lifelong habit, make it a point to eat together as a family at home at least twice a week. Prepare a healthy, nutritious meal and enjoy it together. This simple act can easily cut 1000 fat calories a week out of your child's (and your entire family's) diet and promote healthy eating habits throughout the week, not to mention some quality family time. If you're short on time, considering buying pre-chopped or frozen vegetables to cut down on prep time.
- Get active - In addition to poor diets, the increase in overweight children in the past several years is due to a sedentary lifestyle. Kids are spending more time inside vegging out and less time outside burning off calories. In order to promote healthy weight loss in your children, plan family activities outside. Go hiking, go to the park, go biking, go canoeing, go swimming, or go for a walk. All these things are fun to do together and are good exercise for everyone, not just kids.
- Be firm - Limit the amount of time your child is allowed to spend watching TV, using the computer, or playing video games each day, and keep these devices in family common areas so you can monitor their access. While they may put up a fight at first, rest assured your children will find more active (and fun!) things to do.
The best way to help these tips work is to make sure the entire family participates. The child must not feel like he or she is being punished, but rather rewarded, and like they are part of a group rather than being singled out. Make these activities fun for everyone and your child will look forward to spending active, healthy time with their family. Praise them when the make healthy decisions, and provide them with alternatives when they don't.
Speaking with your health care provider can give you more ideas on how to you can promote weight loss in your children, and be a happier, healthier family.