To stay in optimal health, no matter what age you are, it is important to be physically fit. With children, excess weight can lead to a lot of potentially dangerous health problems, including a higher risk for developing high cholesterol and type II diabetes later in life. Being physically fit should not be about being "skinny," but rather keeping a healthy weight, maintaining your energy levels and having self-confidence.
Drinking calories is an increasingly common culprit behind childhood obesity. Kids often drink calorie-laden and sugary beverages such as sodas and juices. To lose weight, drinking water is the way to go. Not only does H20 keep children hydrated, it doesn't fill them up with empty calories. Restrict sugary beverages to special occasions, such as birthday parties and day trips to theme parks.
Menu changes involve the cooperation and assistance of the parents. Parents need to make an active effort to overhaul the child's lifestyle, including food choices. This involves eating out less frequently (especially at fast food restaurants), snacking less, smaller portions at meals, avoiding processed foods and consuming a diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits, fiber, whole grains and lean meats. If possible, consult with a pediatrician and dietitian for meal planning, for proper and healthy weight loss.
Childhood is an extremely sensitive and impressionable time in life. If a child is overweight, he is likely aware of it and has experienced bullying in school at some point. Be sensitive to your child's needs and avoid making statements such as "You need to lose weight" or "You cannot eat this." Instead, concentrate on health and on what she can eat. Say things like, "Everyone should make an effort to be physically fit to stay strong and healthy" and "You need to eat a lot of fresh fruits, like blueberries." Never make your child feel like the goal is to get skinny or to fit some kind of ideal for beauty, as this can be seriously damaging to self-esteem. Always keep the focus on health.
Keeping a child moving is key to health and weight loss and maintenance. Many children live sedentary lifestyles at school and at home, whether they are surfing the Internet or sitting in front of the television every night. Make activities a family affair. For example; go for walks around the park every night after dinner. Another option is to sign your child up for an activity such as gymnastics, swimming or karate. Apart from weight management, these activities can also elevate self-confidence in children.
It is all too common for children (or people of any age) to skip breakfast and rush out the door in the morning. Breakfast is essential for healthy weight management and also provides a child with the necessary energy to thrive throughout the day. If your child opts out of breakfast, he likely will feel lethargic all day, and will be much more likely to raid the snack cabinets seeking out unhealthy snacks later on.
Perseverance is key when it comes to making dietary changes. Many kids are stubborn about what they will or will not eat, especially when it comes to healthy foods such as vegetables. Exercise persistence when introducing healthy items into your child's diet. If she refuses to eat asparagus for the first, second and third time, keep trying. Do not be discouraged. Eventually, your child will try the dreaded food (and maybe even like it).