Nearly 20 percent of children in the United States have an issue with their weight, and the future looks bleak as those numbers appear to be increasing each day. Kids that are obese are much more likely to grow into adults that are obese, which means that they are at risk for things like diabetes, depression and heart disease. This article will provide helpful information and tips for parents that are concerned about their own children.
All children are different, and as such, the reasons why they struggle with their weight vary. Genetics certainly play a role, as does the sedentary lifestyle that many families are adopting. Certainly, diet factors in to this as well, as unhealthy foods are often quicker to access, and busy families turn to these products more and more to deal with their hectic lifestyles. A child who is obese may suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and bone issues, among other conditions.
If you are concerned about your child’s weight, talk about it with their pediatrician. The doctor will look to see how tall your child is, along with how much they weigh. This information will allow them to compute a BMI number, their body mass index, which they can then use to see if your child falls within a normal weight range or not. However, be aware that this is an imprecise science for young children; they grow at different times, so while they may be overweight at one doctor’s visit, that may change quickly.
If the doctor tells you that your child is overweight, the first thing you need to do is make sure your child knows that you love them and you are there to help them. A child’s self-image is initially based on what his or her parents think of them. If you show them that they are valuable regardless of their weight, they will believe that as well. However, it is important to let them know about all the benefits that come from eating right and exercising well. As a family, make changes to your overall lifestyle; don’t just enforce certain rules and regulations on your overweight child.
In particular, it is important to make sure you, your spouse and your children all remain active. Do things together as a family that will get your heart rate up; going on a bike ride, swimming at the pool and taking evening walks as a family are all examples of activities that you can enjoy. Make sure, though, to listen to your children and avoid activities that make them uncomfortable. Some overweight children may feel self-conscious about wearing a bathing suit to get into the swimming pool, for example. Don’t force the issue; there are many other activities out there that you can try.
If you have an overweight child, there is a lot you can do to change the situation. Have fun together as a family; eat right and stay as active as possible. You will see big changes in not only your children, but yourself as well.