Obesity in children is the main cause for worry now. When I go to address children in schools, it is unbelievable to see the large number of children who are obese or just overweight. Several parents are very concerned about their child growing fat.
Let us have a look why kids are getting fatter?
The main cause is high calorie intake and lack of exercise. Face the fact, that children hardly have any exercise. Its mainly TV viewing and playing video games. An inactive kid engaged in such activities will be involved in mindless eating and gaining weight consistently.
Some of the children tend to eat when emotionally disturbed or are on steroidal medications.
Firstly no vigorous “dieting” or very low calorie diets as they are very harmful to child’s development as nutritional deficiencies can set in. Weight loss should be gradual. Just, Figure out the culprits.
Common culprits are soft drinks, juices,thick shakes,sports drinks, fried foods such as chips, french fries, excessive use of butter and cheese, high intake of breads, biscuits,candies, ice creams, chocolates, pizza, burger, pav bhaji etc. This are the food culprits which you need to eliminate strictly as there are nutritionally poor and can add unnecessary calories.
Skipping breakfast is another strict no-no as the body demands fuel in the morning and regular missing of breakfast will not help in meeting the daily energy needs. This can hamper your child’s concentration and cause poor energy levels leading to low activity levels.
Now how do you help your child lose weight?
- Make sure your child eats breakfast regularly and include homemade foods such as idli, dosa, parantha etc. Try to avoid giving your child commercial breakfast foods such as cornflakes, frosties etc. as they contain high levels of sugar.
- Remove all the culprits I have mentioned above from the diet and provide 3 main nutritious meals and 3 healthy snacks in a day.
- Healthy snacks can be nuts, milk and milk products, salads and fruits.
- Keep fats through bakery products and fried foods to bare minimum and provide healthy fats such as nuts, unsatusated oils used in cooking.
- Minimise the use of sweets and do not use food as bribes for children.
- Encourage your child to drink enough water thorugh out the day. You can check this depending on the number of toilet trips made by your child.
- See that the whole family sets an example, so that the child will not feel “different”.
- Introduce exercise and play for the child. Encourage them to participate in sports and join school teams.
- Limit Television viewing for less than an hour and keep fixed times for such activities.
Introduce each of these tips over a period of time. Do not keep reminding the child that he/she is fat as this can seriously affect the child’ outlook. Instead introduce a good eating pattern involving all kinds of home made food and proper exercise routine.