Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
Those chubby cheeks of your child and a few extra kilos on his frame may make your child look cute. But, as a parent, you need to look at the bigger picture. This chubbiness can become the cause of serious health issues for them in the long run. You must have heard or read somewhere that childhood obesity is on the rise. And obese children tend to become obese adults which can lead to a whole lot of diseases. Hence, it is imperative that you take steps to help manage your child’s obesity and prevent a host of health issues like Type II diabetes, asthma, joint pains, and cardiovascular diseases.
Your first step is to identify whether or not your child is obese. Each child grows in their own unique manner. They have varied body frames and carry different amounts of fat at different stages of growth. Hence, you cannot judge their weight just by looking at them. Here you need to take help of your child’s doctor. The doctor will calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) of your child and will inform you about the result. And if your child happens to be overweight or obese then the following tips can help you help them in losing those extra kilos.
How to help children with obesity?
Set examples for them
Children learn from what they see around. So, you need to start minding your own activities. Otherwise, it will get extremely difficult for you to instil healthy habits in your child. If you are always lazing around or have unhealthy eating habits then you need to change yourself first. And while you do that, invite your child to join you. Tell them that you are eating a banana and that it helps you to become healthy. Invite your kids to meditate with you because it acts as a stress buster. This way you will make your child interested in such activities and they will soon start following you.
Control portion sizes
Watch the size of the portions your child is eating. Often times they are asked to finish whatever has been served to them. This way they end up eating more than required. So start serving small portions to your child. Serve other portion only when they ask for it. You can leave the extra food in the kitchen only so that your child is not tempted towards it. A simple trick of switching normal plates and bowls with smaller sizes can make the served food look enough. Also, keep a check on the number of calories your child is consuming. If the consumed calories are more than the amount of physical work done, then you need to help your child in cutting on those extra calories.
Cook healthier food
Your child eats most of their food in the home so make sure there are plenty of healthy options available. If your shelves are stocked with chips, biscuits and chocolates, then you need to swap them immediately with healthier food. Make them habitual of eating greens and a lot of fruits and vegetables. If you are giving them juices and shakes, then make it a point that they are fresh and have no added sugar. Encourage them to drink plenty of water as well. However, never try to bring drastic changes in the diet of your child. If your child is used to having dessert after dinner, then replace the bowl of ice cream with Greek yoghurt. Once they get accustomed to it, add a new change. Like this, they will not feel that their favourites are being taken away from them and you will also get your work done.
Reduce screen time
Technology is embedded in our lives so much so that we all have become lazy. Children instead of going out to play spend most of their time online on social media or playing video games. This can be called as the biggest contributing factor of their obesity. Diligent efforts have to be made to reduce their screen time. They should not spend more than 2 hours watching TV. Removing all the screens including TV, computers, laptops and mobile phones from their rooms may be helpful. Besides, make sure that they get enough amount of sleep. Since getting less sleep is directly related to obesity, it shouldn’t be ignored.
Increase physical activity
Children are required to have 60 minutes of physical activity daily. It is not like they need to have it all in one stretch. Having it in intervals of 10 minutes can also provide the same benefits. Help your child to recognize their interest and make them join certain teams or clubs. Or you start going out for jog or swim and invite them to join you. This way you will be able to spend more time with them and will also help them to make physical workout their routine.
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