According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 children in the U.S. is obese. Being obese can hurt a child’s self-esteem and increase the risk of several health issues, like types 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. As a parent, it is up to you to help your child get healthy.
Here are six effective ways to help your child lose weight.
Keep Junk Food Out of the House
If you want to help your child lose weight, it is essential to keep junk food out of the house. If there aren’t any cookies, chips or other unhealthy foods in the kitchen, your child will be less tempted to eat them. When your little one feels a little hungry before mealtime, give him or her a healthy snack, such as mini apple peanut butter sandwiches, whole-wheat graham crackers or strawberry applesauce. These snacks will provide your child with loads of nutrients without a lot of calories.
Encourage Daily Exercise
Regular exercise should be an important component in your child’s weight-loss journey. If your child is physically active, he or she can burn extra calories, have more energy and become stronger. Encourage your child to get some kind of exercise every day, whether it is walking, swimming or bike riding. Consider exercising with your child to offer support.
You might also want to think about having your child join a sports camp, where he or she can plays sports in a non-judgmental environment and make new friends.
Set a Good Example
Many children follow what their parents do, so it is important to set a good example, especially when it comes to your eating habits. For example, instead of eating chips as a snack, have a cup of fruit. If your child always sees you eating healthy, he or she is likely to follow your lead.
Offering your child praise can help him or her succeed getting down to a healthy weight. Tell your child how proud you are when he or she accomplishes something in this weight-loss journey. For example, if you notice that your child is snacking on vegetables instead of cookies, be sure to let your child know how happy you are that he or she is making better eating choices.
Do not Rush Weight Loss
It is never a good idea to rush your child’s weight-loss journey. If you teach your child how to count calories and focus on only numbers, it can actually be emotionally damaging. Instead, encourage your child to make lifestyle changes, like choosing fruit over candy and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. These small changes can help your child lose weight gradually and still have a healthy relationship with food.
Include Protein in Your Child’s Diet
When preparing meals and snacks for your child, try to include at least some protein. This nutrient will help your child feel full for hours, so he or she will be less tempted to snack on unhealthy foods. Protein also helps the body release a hormone that releases stored body fat. Good sources of protein include eggs, peanut butter, cottage cheese, chicken and almonds.
It is never too late to help your child start a healthier lifestyle…
If you follow these useful tips, your child can get down to a healthy weight and feel a lot better. If you want to learn more information about youth wellness, you may want to contact YMCA of Greater Cincinnati.