Helping Your Child to Lose Weight
When you and your child's doctor have determined that your child needs
to lose weight, a serious attempt to treat the problem
should be undertaken. Here are some tips to get you
- Set goals. Just like with adult weight
loss, the goals in children should be attainable,
allowing for normal growth. The goals should
initially be small, so that the child doesn't become
discouraged or overwhelmed. A five to 10 pound
weight loss is a reasonable first goal -- about 1-4
pounds per month.
- Food diary. Work with your child to keep
a food diary. This should include not just the type
and quantity of food eaten, but where it was eaten,
and who else was present. The diary is not meant to
help calculate calories eaten. Rather, it is useful
in determining eating patterns and problem foods.
- Diet. Work with your child's doctor to
ensure that your child is receiving a balanced diet,
even if the calories consumed are decreased.
Consider working with a dietitian also.
- Physical activity. Exercise is an
essential component for any long-term weight loss.
Start small, to avoid discouraging the child and
work up to 20-30 minutes of moderate activity per
day in addition to what they get in school.
- Behavior modification. It's important to
help your child learn the skills to modify the
behaviors that may be causing the weight problem.
Consider sending your child to a nutritional
- Parental role. Help your child by
limiting the amount of fattening foods in the house,
eating all meals at the dinner table at designated
times and discouraging second helpings.