Here are some helpful tips that can change the life of your tiny loved ones.
There is a new menace in town – childhood obesity – and children between the ages of 6 and 12 are the most sought after prey. Childhood obesity is alarmingly on the rise in America. These children are too busy marveling at the colorful gift of life to be aware of the early damage they are inducing on their precious young bodies, such as type II diabetes and high cholesterol, to name a few. Thus, such children need early mentoring into routines that will save them from a strenuous adult life. Therefore, the following lifestyles and habits are encouraged to help your pre-teen lose weight.
- Show Love and Support
Children of this age are very delicate and should not rush into anything. Such love and support in the fight against childhood obesity can begin with the whole family changing its diet plan in support of the kids involved. The child must understand that the fight is not for him or her alone but the whole family. It is also important to explain the reason behind the diet change so that they do not feel punished.
2. Implement a Behavior Modification System
Let the child know that being healthy has its rewards. A reward system should complement every effort put in place in adapting to the set diet. However, the reward should not be food. For instance, a child adapting to a weekly routine of taking water instead of soda can get the reward of an action figure or be taken to participate in healthy activities like swimming.
3. Adapt to Different Family Eating Habits
Childhood obesity has many causes, but one we have control of is unsupervised eating habits. Most young children adapt their bodies to an eating routine without even knowing if they are hungry or not. Habitual food consumption, such as eating while watching TV, also contributes to obesity in children. The children find themselves so absorbed in the aired program that they are not aware that they are stretching their stomachs to unhealthy limits. Let mealtime be mealtime and TV time be TV time.
4. Choose Foods that Promote Health and Nutrition
Since obesity and binging go hand-in-hand, it’s wise to discourage their relationship by encouraging a two-small-snacks and three-small-meals daily eating routine. Encourage children to regularly drink lots of water and consume lots of fruits and vegetables daily, as they are more filling, and lower in fats and carbs. An orange, for example, is high in fiber and will make the child feel more satisfied in comparison to a glass of orange juice. Thus, cheeses, low-fat yogurts, and skim milk should be considered for low-fat alternatives. Moreover, pretzels, popcorn, and other low-fat snacks are better substitutes for cookies, cakes, and chips.
5. Encourage Exercises
Come up with a creative way of getting your children to expend calories. Burning calories is effective through activities like rollerblading, bike riding, jogging, and walking. However, how you initiate such activities with your children will determine their level of commitment to the endgame. Make it fun, and perhaps even make it a family competition! Moreover, challenge your family to be more active on a daily basis, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator while they’re out.
6. Work with Realistic Goals
Since such children are still embracing their growth and maturity, avoid turning the home environment into an exercise Boot Camp.
No one wants his or her home to turn into a military base. Thus, the objective should be to maintain a healthy weight since the children are still growing. Forcing them on a weight loss routine could have adverse physical and mental effects on your pre-teen. Children that actively take part in a healthy lifestyle at an early age tend to carry those good habits into adulthood.
7. Make Follow-Up Appointments with a Pediatrician
Make it a habit of visiting a doctor on a bi-monthly basis to assess the child’s blood tests and weight checks. Try to avoid performing the weight checks from the comfort of your home as any small fluctuations may damage the child’s self-esteem. Let the doctor decide and make the necessary medical conclusions about the safety and risks that might have ties to the implemented weight loss routine.
If your child does not meet the criteria of healthy body weight due to obesity, there is no instant magic potion that they can take. It will take patience, time, discipline, and long-term modifications in the child’s lifestyle. Moreover, a good support system will make the process more manageable and even more enjoyable as no child wants to feel like the outcast of the family. For such young, fragile and energetic humans, strength in numbers is a winning factor.