BEING overweight as a child can lead to health problems later in life. Fortunately, as a parent or other caregiver, there are things you can do to help your child consume healthy foods and beverages, be physically active, and get to and stay at a healthy weight.
For example, try these tips from Helping Your Overweight Child from the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a national information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health:
Choosing healthy foods and beverages
• Buy and serve fruits and vegetables-fresh, frozen, canned or dried. Let your child choose them at the store. Get fruit without added sugar and vegetables without salt or added fats.
• Eat fast food less often. When you do visit a fast-food restaurant, encourage your family to choose healthier options, such as grilled instead of fried chicken.
• Don’t use food as a reward when encouraging kids to eat. For example, promising dessert to a child for eating vegetables sends the message that vegetables are less valuable than dessert.
Getting more physical activity
• Be active together as a family. Assign active chores, such as making beds, sweeping or vacuuming. Plan active outings, like a walk through a local park.
• Children need about 60 minutes of physical activity each day, but they don’t have to do it all at once. Several 10- or even five-minute bursts of activity throughout the day are just as good.
• Activities that kids choose on their own are often best. Encourage your child to play soccer with friends, catch and throw a ball, dance, or bike (with a helmet).
Looking for more? Check out WIN’s Helping Your Overweight Child. This fact sheet features ideas for supporting your child, lists of healthy snacks and activities your child may enjoy, and more tips to help your child choose healthy foods and beverages and be more physically active each day. Contact WIN to get your free copy. Or go to www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/over_child.htm to read and download the fact sheet.
For more information, visit www.win.niddk.nih.gov. You can also like WIN on Facebook at www.facebook.com/win.niddk.nih.gov. North American Precis Syndicate