Children, adolescents, and teens should not be placed on a weight reduction diet without the consent of their doctor. Prior to puberty children typically gain extra weight and that is important to fuel their growth spurt during puberty. Always consult with your child’s doctor before beginning any weight reduction diet.
Children gain weight from eating more calories than they need. The excess calories are stored as fat. Balancing the calories consumed with the calories burned will prevent obesity. Each child’s caloric needs are different and unique, that is why a doctor may help create a plan for your child.
Children, adolescents, and teenagers need to have a simple plan to help them keep an ideal body weight. One of the best ways to help your child is to lead by example. Eating healthy foods, drinking healthy drinks, and having a commitment to exercise will help instill the same values in your child.
The most important factor in your child losing weight is to have your child eat reasonably sized portions. Portion control is much more important for losing weight than exercise.
Healthy Eating Tips:
- Discourage Soda
- Fruit drinks in moderation. Pay attention to fruit drinks. Though they may be natural they can be a significant source of sugar and calories. Feel free to mix your fruit drinks with half as much water to reduce the calories.
- Offer low-fat milk and dairy products
- Limit beverages sweetened with sugar
- Encourage water consumption for hydration
- Avoid Fast Foods as they are very calorie dense (huge amount of calories)
- Avoid fried foods as much as possible, fried foods are high in fat which means they are calorie dense
- Offer lean meats
- Encourage fish and poultry and do not fry it
- Beans, lentils, and legumes are a great source of protein
- Limit junk food which is typically high in fat and typically fried making it calorie dense
- Limit sweets as they are high in sugar and many times also high in fat making them very calorie dense
- Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks
- Be observant for healthy food choices. Many companies now offer 100-calorie snacks. Although they may not be particularly healthy, they do limit the calories by portion control.
Many kids are overweight as they are not physically active.
- Video games encourage sitting for prolonged periods
- The plethora of TV shows encourages prolonged viewing
- Many schools have cut gym or recess time
- Motor scooters have decreased walking
Encourage children to do daily exercise and limit video game playing. Leading by example works great. Bring your children to the gym with you so they learn to make it part of their life.
Though physical activity is help and provides many benefits including:
- Diminishes stress and reduces chances of depression
- Increases self-esteem
- Decreases Blood Pressure
- Strengthens Bones
- Increases productivity
- Helps with weight management
It is very important to understand that portion control is critical in achieving an ideal body weight. Exercise offers the above advantages but 30 min of vigorous exercise typically burns 400-500 calories. Eating a few cookies, a bag of potato chips, or other snack foods can easily negate the calories burned during the exercise. So a child that exercises and then eats a calorie dense food can end up calorie positive and gain weight!