Kids health

5 tips to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight

The Childhood Obesity Foundation and the Centre for Healthy Active Living at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario offer these tips for parents.

By Carolyn Abraham

Photo: iStockphoto Photo: iStockphoto

1. Stay on track

- With your doctor, watch your kid’s growth and monitor his BMI. Discuss any concerns without your child in the room.

- Assess the household’s habits. Is everyone eating healthily, sleeping well and getting enough exercise?

- Watch how your kid is behaving. Is your son refusing to swim without a shirt on?

2. Watch your language

- Get rid of scales; body weight doesn’t tell you how healthy you are.

- Watch how you refer to your own body and the bodies of others.

- Telling people they need to lose weight is as useful as telling someone with depression to cheer up.

3. Nourish and nurture

- Offer veggies before a meal so no one sits down starving and is inclined to overeat.

- Avoid all sugary drinks, including juice, which tends to be concentrated.

- Use smaller plates: Studies show portion sizes tend to mirror plate sizes.

- Don’t stock unhealthy foods.

4. Limit screen time

- Restrict screen time to two hours a day. To avoid conflict, set an alarm to inform your child when screen time is up.

- Discourage eating in front of screens, as it can lead to mindless consumption.

5. Move it!

- Every kid should have at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.

- Invite your child to rake leaves with you, shovel snow, walk to school, walk the dog or simply dance in the kitchen.

- Let them know “there’s a sport for everybody and a body for every sport.”

- Tell your kids that activity can not only make them physically fit but also improve mood, make them mentally sharper and help them make friends.