With rise of obesity and increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes occurring in children, many parents are now faced with helping an overweight child. This may not be a daunting as first seems and here are some simple, but effective steps to take to help your child develop eating habits and active lifestyle that will assist improve their health.
·Tell your child that he or she is loved, is special, and is important. Children's feelings about themselves often are based on their parents' feelings about them.
·Accept your child at any weight. Children will be more likely to accept and feel good about themselves when their parents accept them.
·Listen to your child's concerns about his or her weight. Overweight children probably know better than anyone else that they have a weight problem. They need support, understanding, and encouragement from parents.
Encourage healthy eating habits
·Buy and serve more fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned). Let your child choose them at store.
·Buy fewer soft drinks and high fat/high calorie snack foods like chips, cookies, and candy. These snacks are OK once in a while, but keep healthy snack foods on hand too and offer them to your child more often.
·Eat breakfast every day. Skipping breakfast can leave your child hungry, tired, and looking for less healthy foods later in day.
·Plan healthy meals and eat together as a family. Eating together at meal times helps children learn to enjoy a variety of foods.
·Eat fast food less often. When you visit a fast food restaurant, try healthful options offered.
·Offer your child water or low-fat milk more often than fruit juice. Fruit juice is a healthy choice but is high in calories.
·Do not get discouraged if your child will not eat a new food first time it is served. Some kids will need to have a new food served to them 10 times or more before they will eat it.
·Try not to use food as a reward when encouraging kids to eat. Promising dessert to a child for eating vegetables, for example, sends message that vegetables are less valuable than dessert. Kids learn to dislike foods they think are less valuable.
·Start with small servings and let your child ask for more if he or she is still hungry. It is up to you to provide your child with healthy meals and snacks, but your child should be allowed to choose how much food he or she will eat.