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How to Help Your Child Lose Weight and Be Healthy

Photo credit: Flickr

My daughter asked me lately "Mommy, pumayat na ba ako?" In English that means "Have I become thinner?" She used to be petite but when she entered Grade 2, she slowly gained weight. Among my daughters, she's probably the one who looks a lot like me. I was chubby when I was her age and I also know how she feels when other people tell her that "she's malusog (healthy), lumalaki (growing big), napabayaan sa kusina (left in the kitchen) and that she should papayat naman (lose weight)" and other like comments.

It's not yet right to impose on her a weight loss diet, though my husband and I try to encourage her to eat more healthy foods. We also encourage her to engage in more physical activities instead of just playing video games or watching videos on portable gadgets.

It's a good thing that last summer she and her sister and cousins joined the free Summer Swimming Clinic offered by Pasig City. I believe she lost weight a little and because she grew taller also, she doesn't look as chubby as before. This school year, she's also looking forward to joining her school's volleyball team. That would mean regular physical activity for her.

People at any age can be concerned with their weight. However, for kids, the concern is not just about their physical health. It also affects their healthy self-esteem. A number of boys or girls can be mean to other children with weight issues. And no parent would like their kids to feel rejected just because of their weight!

If your son or daughter is heavier than other kids their age, your first assignment as a parent is to reassure him or her that he or she is just as special like any other child and that you love him or her just the same no matter what is his or her weight.

Having said that, you also would like your child to be physically healthy. Having extra weight is generally unhealthy for anyone, and children who are bothered by excess weight are more likely to develop serious health challenges later in life.

The good news is, because children are growing and tend to have higher metabolism, they can reach a healthy weight faster than adults if they could stick to healthier eating habits early. Putting into action the following suggestions can help your son or daughter  to win the battle against being fat or heavy:

1. Choose healthy instead of unhealthy snacks.

Although a lot of unhealthy foods taste better to your kids compared to healthy foods, you need to find healthy snack choices that your kids will like and benefit from. Try these snack suggestions:
  • Give baked chips instead of fried chips.
  • Choose snacks with natural ingredients instead of snacks with artificial ingredients.
  • Encourage your child to eat veggies. You could serve veggies with their favorite dip in moderation.
  • Don't buy soft drinks and juices that are high in sugar instead let them drink water or homemade fruit juices and smoothies.

2. Follow a schedule for meal times.

Although it may be hard to control how and what your kid eats outside the home, you could still implement a schedule at home. Make sure they eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let them have snacks twice a day between meals and try to keep them from having other snacks.

  • Do away with bedtime snacks. However, do not send your child to bed hungry. In that case, let him or her have a light snack.
  • Following a meal schedule will teach your child to be disciplined in eating so daily caloric intake will be constant.
  • Although you're trying to help your child to lose weight, you can give a treat from time to time so it helps have better control of cravings.

3. Exercise together.

If you tell your child to work out on their own, it might cause him or her to feel something wrong about himself. By exercising together, your child will realize that exercise is a healthy activity, no matter what your weight is.

4. Promote video games having physical exercise as a theme.

Recreation is a vital part of any child's growth, so you should not take away recreation in exchange for physical activity. Rather, try video games that engage the players in significant physical activity. That way, your child is taking part in healthy recreation!

These suggestions are a good start to encouraging your child conquer his or her weight issue. Be sure to stay consistent. If you don't take this seriously, your child won't either. If you're consistent, your son or daughter will develop the habit of a healthy life without being pressured.

If you could start with one or two of the suggestions above, that would be good.  Eventually, try the other suggestions in the list. After a while, your child will be choosing the healthier lifestyle even without being told. Furthermore, when he or she sees the changes in her physical looks, it will motivate him or her even more to continue living healthy!

Can you relate to this issue? Do you have a child who needs to lose weight? How have you dealt with this concern? Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.


Explore The 6 said…
Eating healthier foods and having kids involved in fun physical activities is the way to go ( Swimming and soccer are 2 examples are great activities kids would enjoy :)
Tara said…
You did a nice job of addressing a sensitive subject of your child's weight. My son was a very pudgy baby, but both my kids were "tall" and skinny through elementary school, I say tall in quotes, because my daughter looks like she will be very tall, but seems to have stopped growing for the last year at 5'3. But my son is over 6', I think he will be very tall like my father. Great tips for aiming for a healthy weight. Thanks for sharing.
Brittany said…
I love that there are video games that include working out. I love the dancing ones!! It's always fun to workout together too. Great tips!
mail4rosey said…
Exercising with the kids does make it more fun. The Wii gives us quite a workout too if it's a rainy day outside!
Jojo Hua said…
It's always good to encourage children to eat healthier. As long as the focus is on their health and well being and not on being skinny :)
Chin chin said…
@Brittany Aside from the dance-themed games, I also the games with sports theme. It helps them move their bodies while having fun.

@JojoHua Health should indeed be the focus. Looking better is secondary or just the bonus.
Laurence said…
Great tips. Nowadays, I observe kids don't eat much veggies and always on their iPad or phone. These are really good practice for them to stay healthy.
Sarah said…
I think this is such a heavy topic I will tread lightly. I don't think kids should be put on a diet or even know what that means. If healthy options are given from the beginning and limitations are put on indoor play like they are meant to be weight is not an issue. & a bit of extra weight in adolescence can be ok. as long as they are following a curve and not gaining or losing mass amounts at a time.

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