I watched my daughter’s soccer team playing one day. I had left my glasses at home, so I was having trouble seeing whose kid was who. There was one chubby little girl that stood out, not for her skills, but because she was having difficulty keeping up. When the game was over and the kids ran towards the sidelines, I was stunned to recognize the chubby kid as my own daughter! Not seeing the close up details allowed me to recognize what others already knew—my little girl was alarmingly overweight. This shock was a huge wake-up call, and I got right to work—we’re now eating healthier and working together to help her lose weight. I wanted to share what I learned to help other parents of overweight kids—and you are may be one of those parents, whether you know it or not.
Pull the Plug: It’s not exactly a secret that watching too much television isn’t healthy. If you’ve got kids, you probably realize too much TV is not a good thing. The problem may be deeper than you think, though. I was surprised to read that it’s not just the lack of exercise that makes habitual TV watchers overweight—the content that you watch has a big effect on your waistline as well. At the most recent European Nutrition Conference in Madrid, Spain researchers presented findings that simply watching commercials featuring attractive and tempting foods can lead to weight gain.
If your child is seeing a lot of fast food of junky snack food commercials, she’ll be more likely to choose any kind of junk food over healthier options. That gives you one more reason to pull the plug— junk food propaganda isn’t good for any member of the family!
Have dinner together: When you share a dinner together, you have the chance to model healthy habits. Researchers from the University of Minnesota say that simply sharing dinner as a family can put your son or daughter on the road to healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Scientists studied the eating habits and food attitudes of 1,500 20-year olds and found that the young adults who shared family meals as kids had healthier outlooks when they grew up. Kids who shared family meals ate more fruits and veggies and less junk, so put dinner on the table and have a family meal together if you’re concerned about weight.
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Enforce reasonable bedtimes: Kids as young as 5 can be adversely affected by not getting enough sleep, and are up to 61% more likely to become overweight as they grow up, says a study recently published in the British Medical Journal. More waking hours equals more opportunities to snack, even if your child isn’t hungry. I actually implelemted this one in our own home, and found an added bonus—when the kids went to bed on time, I had time to read, relax or work on my scrapbook without interruptions!
Model good habits yourself: If it seems to you like it is hard to tell your child the right way to eat when you are shoveling down a Big Mac and a large order of fries—you’re right! You can’t effectively help your daughter lose weight if you have an unaddressed issue yourself, according to researchers from the University of California. The March 2012 study concluded that one of the best indicators of healthy weight for kids was the healthy weight of their parents—so if you’re overweight, your child is likely to be obese, too. By making weight loss a family effort, you can support your overweight child and get healthier yourself, as well. I know I could stand to lose a few pounds, so helping Robbie meant helping me, too – a win-win situation for our family.
If you losing weight is a challenge for you, consider getting help from a dietitian or starting a proven weight loss program such as Weight Watchers. You can see the latest Weight Watchers promotions at http://www.weightlosstriumph.com/weight-watchers-coupon-codes-review-promotional-savings-discounts.html.
Realize that your child is overweight: A full 75% of moms that have overweight kids think their offspring are actually normal weight, according to researchers from the University Medical Centre Groningen in The Netherlands. If you are not sure about your child’s weight, ask a trusted friend for an objective opinion—her answer may surprise you. I assumed my daughter Lisa was simply having a growth spurt—but the growth spurt was lasting over a year. It took a conversation with a good friend to open my eyes. Her own son struggled with his weight, and she passed on some books to me—and I had no idea that we needed them!
Early detection is key to helping your overweight child; when you address the weight problem and work together to make healthier choices, your whole family will benefit.
Disclosure: An administration fee for processing (editing and publishing) this article was applied.