While there are several weight loss supplements on the market today, healthcare professionals are in agreement that none are safe for children under the age of 18. In fact, many could end up harming instead of helping your child.
The only true (and proven) way for your child to lose weight is through diet and exercise. There isn’t a “magic pill” that will melt off weight that many companies would like you to believe.
If your child is overweight, most likely other family members are as well and they can also benefit from changes to a healthier diet. They key to getting your child to lose weight is by making small, almost un-noticeable changes to everyone’s diet. Do not single out your child by providing him/her with their own diet! That does nothing but erode their self-esteem which may already be low because of their weight.
Move your family toward a healthier lifestyle by first having everyone eat at the table as a family, not in front of the T.V. or in their room. Studies have proven that children who eat with their family are less likely to be overweight.
Make it easier for your child to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Start by having a bowl of apples and oranges on the table throughout the day. Or keep washed, bite-sized vegetables with a healthy dip in the refrigerator.
Next, start gradually cutting back on sugared drinks and sodas (even diet and fruit punch are not good for them). Start by cutting back by one the first week, two the second week, etc. until your child is not drinking any at all. Encourage your child to drink water instead.
Make sure your child has time to eat breakfast. Your mother was right – it is the most important meal of the day, but one many children do not eat. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, skipping breakfast leads to weight gain.
The first step in getting your child more exercise is to limit time spent watching T.V. or playing video games. Instead, use that time doing physical activities, such as playing outside or engaged in a sport or going for a walk as a family. Geocaching is a fun sport for children of all ages (and adults too). The physical activity has to be fun or you’ll encounter resistance to doing it.
Another way to get your children interested in eating healthy is to get them to participate in meal planning and grocery shopping. Not only will they learn what foods are healthy, but they will get exercise just from walking around the grocery store and a sense of ownership from helping.