Obesity basically means an excess amount of body fat which is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI). Obesity has become very common among children today. It is one of the most widely spread medical challenges. Obesity brings along with it a risk of several other health problems like heart disease, diabetes and stroke, besides social and emotional problems. Parents can play a major role in keeping the weight of their kids in control or preventing further gain if the child is already overweight. Parents must keep a check on the eating habits of their wards and encourage a lot of physical activity like swimming, cycling, running, etc. Matters related to obesity must be discussed very sensibly with the kids as you might unknowingly hurt them with your talks. Remember that it is always better to tackle weight issues when the child is at a young age and is more open to your opinions rather than waiting for him to grow up and become problematic.
Parents can play a crucial role in shaping up their child’s future by tackling their weight issues smartly, keeping the level of child’s esteem and confidence high. Some simple points need to be taken into consideration by the parents while handling their kids.
1. Help your child to combat weight issues: Be supportive
Remmeber to be your child’s ally in handling the weight problems. Do not ridicule the child for being obese. Be helpful and talk sensibly about the weight issues to kids. Make him/her understand that you are there to help. Explore some physical activities like swimming, playing, skating, etc depending on the interest of the child. Make healthy food for your child keeping in mind their likes and dislikes. Take them along while grocery shopping and let them choose fruits and vegetables of their choice.
2. Be a good role model
Children tend to take their parents as role models when it comes to lifestyle. Set a good example by following a healthy lifestyle yourself, exercise regularly and adopt good eating habits – the kids will follow your footsteps. If you will go to fast food restaurants and follow unhealthy lifestyle, so will the kids. Limit fast food consumption and choose better alternative for yourself and the kids. The kids would act rebellious if you consume fast food and tell them not to.
3. Start at the earliest
Do not postpone a healthy lifestyle, the sooner you start the better it is. Forget about the choices you made in the past. Start off a new journey towards good health. This will inspire the children as well and they may also begin to adopt good habits. Minimize your TV viewing hours and instead indulge in some physical activity like jogging. Discard food items with high saturated fats and ingredients like sugar basically all the junk food items. Include a lot of fruits, nuts, juices,yogurt, low fat cheese, peanut butter, etc., in your kitchen stock. Cut down your family trips to fast food restaurants and replace it with tasty and healthy alternatives at home like whole grain pasta, bread , cereals, poultry, etc.
4. Do not criticize the child for weight issues and eating habits
Do not criticize your child for being obese or for eating junk food. This would only create a feeling of rejection towards you from the child’s side. Do not start comparing your obese child with other slim kids as that may lower down his/her confidence level. Speak to them politely and explain the harms of being obese, promote a healthy lifestyle at home so that the child understands the reason for your concern and co-operates.
5. Talk to your child to know the problem area
There may be some deeper or intense issue that might be making your child obese. It is crucial for the parents to find out why the child is behaving in a certain manner or adopting a certain lifestyle. The key to finding out all about your child is communication – talk to them in a friendly manner to let them speak out their issues. One of the common reason is loneliness which may drive your kid to indulge in food and decrease the physical activities to minimum. If such a situation prevails, help your child by making him join some hobby classes where he can interact with other kids and concentrate on things other than eating. This will also keep the child active. Get yourself involved with the child, for instance, plan out family outings or simply hit the ground with the kid and play with him.
6. Do not impose food restrictions too harshly
Do not over impose any eating habit on your child as this could make them aggressive. Once in a while, it is okay to eat fast food. The idea is to establish a healthy eating habit not completely restricting foods. Teach children to eat fast food in moderation, and eat them for the taste and not to satisfy hunger.
7. Make mealtime family time
Eat with your child to promote good eating habits. This will also let you know about the likes and dislikes of the child in terms of food. Make eating a social habit by sitting on the dining table and eating together. This way the child will make healthy choices and eat in proper quantity.
8. Don’t enforce a strict exercise plan
Do encourage physical activity in your child but do not impose it on them. Be creative, let your child try different physical activities every now and then. Do not make exercising a chore for him as that may discourage the child and he will try to run away from it everyday. Make it interesting so that the child enjoys it. Explore new options and also get indulged in the activity yourself. This will act as a boost for the child’s will to exercise.
9. Express your love to the child to make him feel important
Remember, your child needs your love whether he is size 3 or size 13. Do not disrespect the parent-child bond in any way. Make your child feel loved the way he is. This way the child will make healthy choices because he will understand that you love him un-conditionally and are thinking for his benefit. Strengthen the bond by getting involved with your child.