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.

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

– Keep the focus on making kids feel good in their bodies.

– 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.

Read more:
Childhood obesity: Sizing up our kids
6 easy yoga poses for kids
6 hearty-but-healthy recipes for weeknight dinners

 

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