How to encourage healthy weight loss

October 1, 2022

Helping your child lose weight is tricky. On one hand, we know that very overweight children often become very overweight adults. This may lead to various health issues, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and so on. These children are also common targets of bullying and so develop low self-esteem. 

On the other hand, children who become fixated with their weight loss are at risk of developing serious eating disorders. So here are some tips to help your child reach a healthy weight in a healthy way.

  1. Be a good role model

Little ones can’t help but mirror the behaviour of authority figures around them. When it comes to weight loss, one of the most powerful ways to encourage your child to exercise and eat well is therefore to do so yourself. 

Even better - do it as a team! Rather than watching a film together, you could play frisbee in the park, or perhaps do weekly jogs. You might also teach your child to cook healthy meals. In no time, they will associate healthy living with fun.

  1. Get them moving in a fun, engaging way

Children do not need to run ultra-marathons to lose weight. This is especially true of overweight children. Their extra body weight means that they will burn more calories than slimmer children when doing the same activity. So, there is no need to go beyond 60 minutes of physical activity. 

Crucially though, children must enjoy their exercise! Find a sport they like to do and encourage their development. You could also walk or cycle to school rather than drive. Better for your pocket and the environment, too. 

  1. Don’t overfeed

It is often said that you can’t outrun a bad diet. Children are no exception to this rule. Try to keep them away from high-calorie, ultra-processed food and avoid using adult-size plates when serving them. 

A good method is to start by giving your child small servings and allow them to ask for more if they are still hungry. They are far less likely to gobble up more than is healthy.

  1. More sleep

There is overwhelming evidence which shows that the less children sleep, the greater the risk of obesity. So, keep them away from those screens late at night, leave mobiles out of the bedroom and try and establish a regular sleep cycle. 

  1. Seek further help

Beyond these tips, your GP can always give you further advice. They might refer you to a local management program for children, such as those organised by MEND and More Life.

How to encourage healthy weight loss

October 1, 2022

Helping your child lose weight is tricky. On one hand, we know that very overweight children often become very overweight adults. This may lead to various health issues, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and so on. These children are also common targets of bullying and so develop low self-esteem. 

On the other hand, children who become fixated with their weight loss are at risk of developing serious eating disorders. So here are some tips to help your child reach a healthy weight in a healthy way.

  1. Be a good role model

Little ones can’t help but mirror the behaviour of authority figures around them. When it comes to weight loss, one of the most powerful ways to encourage your child to exercise and eat well is therefore to do so yourself. 

Even better - do it as a team! Rather than watching a film together, you could play frisbee in the park, or perhaps do weekly jogs. You might also teach your child to cook healthy meals. In no time, they will associate healthy living with fun.

  1. Get them moving in a fun, engaging way

Children do not need to run ultra-marathons to lose weight. This is especially true of overweight children. Their extra body weight means that they will burn more calories than slimmer children when doing the same activity. So, there is no need to go beyond 60 minutes of physical activity. 

Crucially though, children must enjoy their exercise! Find a sport they like to do and encourage their development. You could also walk or cycle to school rather than drive. Better for your pocket and the environment, too. 

  1. Don’t overfeed

It is often said that you can’t outrun a bad diet. Children are no exception to this rule. Try to keep them away from high-calorie, ultra-processed food and avoid using adult-size plates when serving them. 

A good method is to start by giving your child small servings and allow them to ask for more if they are still hungry. They are far less likely to gobble up more than is healthy.

  1. More sleep

There is overwhelming evidence which shows that the less children sleep, the greater the risk of obesity. So, keep them away from those screens late at night, leave mobiles out of the bedroom and try and establish a regular sleep cycle. 

  1. Seek further help

Beyond these tips, your GP can always give you further advice. They might refer you to a local management program for children, such as those organised by MEND and More Life.

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