Parents play a crucial role in helping children who are obese feel loved and in control of their weight. Take advantage of every opportunity to build your child's self-esteem. Don't be afraid to bring up the topic of health and fitness but do be sensitive that a child may view your concern as an insult. Talk to your kids directly, openly, and without being critical or judgmental.
In addition, consider the following advice:
Feb. 15, 2014
- Be sensitive to your child's needs and feelings. Becoming active is an important lifestyle change for your child to make, but your child is more likely to stick to those changes if you let him or her choose what physical activities he or she is comfortable with.
- Find reasons to praise your child's efforts. Celebrate small, incremental changes but don't reward with food. Choose other ways to mark your child's accomplishments, such as going to the bowling alley or a local park.
- Talk to your child about his or her feelings. Help your child find ways to deal with his or her emotions that don't involve eating.
- Help your child focus on positive goals. For example, point out that he or she can now bike for more than 20 minutes without getting tired or can run the required number of laps in gym class.
- About BMI for children and teens. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_BMI/about_childrens_BMI.html. Accessed Sept 25, 2013.
- Understanding childhood obesity. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/WeightManagement/Obesity/Childhood-Obesity_UCM_304347_Article.jsp. Accessed Sept. 25, 2013.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=14. Accessed Sept. 18, 2013.
- Huang JS, et al. Childhood obesity for pediatric gastroenterologists. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2013;56:99.
- Klish WJ. Definition; epidemiology; and etiology of obesity in children and adolescents. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 18, 2013.
- Barlow SE, et al. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: Summary report. Pediatrics. 2007;120:S164.
- Currie C, et al. Is obesity at individual and national level associated with lower age at menarche? Evidence from 34 countries in the health behaviour in school-aged children study. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2012;50:621.
- Keeping children at a healthy weight: A review of the research on ways to avoid becoming overweight or obese. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productID=1714. Accessed Sept. 18, 2013.
- Skelton JA. Management of childhood obesity in the primary care setting. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 18, 2013.
- Petjar R, et al. Pharmacological management of obese child. Archives of Diseases in Childhood Education and Practice Edition. 2013;98:108.
- Sherafat-Kazemzadeh R, et al. Pharmacotherapy for childhood obesity: present and future prospects. International Journal of Obesity. 2013;37:1.
- O'Gorman CSM, et al. Considering statins for cholesterol-reduction in children if lifestyle and diet changes do not improve their health: a review of the risks and benefits. Vascular Health and Risk Management. 2011:7;1.
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