Obesity affects about 12.7 million kids and teens in the U.S. Right now, about 17% of kids and teens are overweight or morbidly obese. If your child is obese, it may seem like you’ve done everything you can to help him or her lose weight and there’s no hope. There is hope, but helping your child isn’t only about weight. It’s about confidence.
Watch What You Say
As you make changes in your home, don’t make them seem like a punishment. Don’t say, “Stop eating those cookies; you’ll get fat.” Say, “Cookies are nice once in a while, but we should be eating healthy foods.” Don’t call your child fat or comment on weight. Say things like, “We’re exercising because it keeps us healthy” or “You need to eat the right things so you have the energy you need.”
Set an Example
Your child can’t eat what isn’t in the house, so stock up on healthy foods and watch out for hidden sugars and fats. That way, everyone in the family can nosh on healthy snacks and enjoy balanced meals. Instead of butter, cheese, and full-fat sauces, use low-cal dressings, spices, and peanut or almond butter to make fruit and veggies fun.
Make Exercise Enticing
Exercise as a family, but give your kids the opportunity to choose their own activities, too. Dancing, jumping rope, and taking pets for walks all count as exercise. Allow older kids to work out at a gym with supervision. Encourage reading, using audiobooks, or listening to music during workouts.