Help Your Child with Successful Weight Management

A     child with weight problems...

                                                                                 limit portion sizes ...

Food Pyramid (see ”Food Groups”)          Acknowledging the Problem
as a guide. Research shows that k...
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  1. 1. YOUR CHILD'S WEIGHT Help Your Child with Successful Weight Management A child with weight problems faces serious medical, emotional, and social consequences. Extra pounds can Components of Weight Management Weight management programs for all but the most severely overweight children and adoles- cents should not focus on weight loss. Instead, lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, the goal is to keep weight stable while the heart disease, and orthopedic and child gets taller and more muscular over time. mobility problems, not to mention low As with adult programs, the cornerstones are physical activity and a healthy diet. However, self-esteem and social problems. a child has a much better chance for success All kids and families handle this difficult when her family also adopts healthy behaviors. situation differently: some make it the focus of family life; others pretend it doesn’t exist. But Target the Whole Family there are two basic truths about all families: With family participation, the overweight child 1) parents are constantly influencing their is not singled out, and can learn and practice child’s relationship with food, activity, and new behaviors with positive examples from themselves, and 2) weight control is a family the most important people in his life. In addi- problem that requires a family solution. You tion to teaching kids about healthy choices, can help your child with the challenge of you must also be a role model, support system, weight control by being a positive role model and participant. When all family members join with your attitudes, your eating habits, and in positive activities, you’ll not only help your your physical activity behaviors. overweight child, you’ll also become a healthier and closer family. Causes of Overweight Simply speaking, overweight occurs when Be Physically Active more calories are coming in than are being Moving your body is a critical element in spent. But it’s really not that easy. Although weight management. Movement and exertion physical activity and food choices are the most help everyone feel healthier, manage weight, critical factors in weight gain and loss, other control stress, and increase strength, coordina- factors, including genetics and family and tion, and self-esteem. Researchers jokingly social influences, play a role. point out that the most Your doctor can help important physical evaluate your child’s activity a child can do is weight using tools such turning off the television as body mass index set or walking away (BMI) and growth from computer games. charts, and considering Hours of tag, stick ball, age, sex, maturity level, and hopscotch have ethnicity, and physical been replaced by activity. Remember, no BAYLOR sedentary activities one has a specific ideal COLLEGE such as television weight; we all have a range of acceptable watching and computer OF MEDICINE games. Experts recom- Office of Health weight. mend that most chil- Promotion dren get at least 60 One Baylor Plaza, Help your child with minutes of moderate Rm 176B the challenge of weight physical activity daily. Houston, TX control by being a And if you’re looking to 77030 positive role model spend “quality” time
  2. 2. YOUR CHILD'S WEIGHT limit portion sizes of foods high in calories, such as cookies, cakes, and other sweets, and fats, oils, and spreads. Here are some tips to work toward these goals: • Use less fat to cook and at meals • Choose lean cuts of meat • Prepare foods (and order out) in ways that don’t add fat—bake, roast, poach, grill Plan vacations around movement and play • Avoid fried foods, heavy cream or butter sauces with kids when you’re not distracted daily and weekly schedule. For • Use low or non-fat dairy products or rushed, physical activity is a example, each day after school and and cheeses (except for kids great opportunity. work, the family can go for a walk, younger than two years) ride bikes, or play Frisbee. On rainy Support an Active Lifestyle days maybe everyone can exercise • Combine “new” foods with All family members should help “favorite” foods: mix bran cereal along with Mom’s fitness video, or select family activities as well as with the ‘fun’ cereal your kids are just put on fast music and dance. their own pursuits. Here are some used to; serve low-fat ice cream Many active families pick a ways you can be supportive: with fruit on top special activity for weekends: • Buy birthday and holiday pre- flying kites, playing tennis, swim- • Drink water instead of soda or sents that promote movement, such ming, ice skating, etc. Help your fruit drinks as roller skates, frisbees, a croquet kids find activities that appeal to • Remember breakfast, but forget set, or a softball and glove. them, and pursue them through traditional ideas. How about a slice • Involve your extended family and lessons, clubs, teams, and/or of veggie pizza, a fruit smoothie friends in your activities. camps. Remember that some kids with low-fat milk, or low-fat peanut enjoy team sports and events while butter on whole wheat toast? • Emphasize fun, not skill. others prefer to participate in • Take a multi-vitamin daily • Volunteer for physical activity solitary or family-only activities. events at your child’s school. Healthy Habits • Find activities in your community, Eat for Health • Don’t draw attention to healthy such as hiking trails, swimming Experts agree that kids shouldn’t be foods you’ve purchased. pools, skating rinks, etc. placed on highly restricted diets. • Eat meals together so you can be • Plan parties and vacations around Instead of going on (and off) diets, a role model. Make meals a pleas- movement and play. Instead of a most people who control their ant time to discuss your day, not a birthday outing at the movies, how weight view food as a tool they use time for lecturing or punishing. about miniature golf, or roller to feel good and healthy. They have • Don’t eat in front of the television. skating? Or a vacation that includes modified what they eat, how much swimming, camping, canoeing, they eat, and how they feel and • Stock your kitchen with healthy lunch and snack foods (raisins, hiking, etc.? behave regarding food. popcorn, fruit, etc.), and store the Everyday Ideas Guidelines for Lifetime cookies out of sight. Your family doesn’t have to launch Weight Management • Rethink the way you eat and into a vigorous exercise regime to While no foods are “off limits,” a shop. Have vegetables, beans, or expend more energy. Try making sensible, healthy eating plan pasta as the focus of your meal, changes in your everyday routine: highlights foods that have moder- with meat as a side dish. walk instead of drive, park further ate amounts of fat, sugar, and • Serve healthy snacks and have from the store, or take the stairs sodium. Use the Food Pyramid (see smaller meals. instead of the elevator. Everyone box) as a guide for food choices, and include a variety of foods, • Involve the kids in planning, can help do yard work, washing shopping, and preparing meals, the car, and housecleaning. Try to especially whole grains, fresh snacks, and school lunches using the schedule active times into your vegetables and fruits. Be careful to
  3. 3. YOUR CHILD'S WEIGHT Food Pyramid (see ”Food Groups”) Acknowledging the Problem as a guide. Research shows that kids Most kids with a weight problem usually eat the dishes they fix, and are very aware of it, but may not that parents do too! know what to do or where to turn. • Don’t use food as punishment or Try acknowledging your child’s reward. concerns, providing hope for the future, and promising that you will • Help your child consider healthy be there to help. choices in places he eats, such as the school cafeteria or fast food restaurants. Self-Awareness People with weight problems often • Choose smaller sizes, share side eat for reasons that have nothing to orders, set aside half of a restaurant do with appetite, such as boredom, dinner for lunch the next day. frustration, sleepiness, anger, etc. • Don’t overly restrict sweets or Help your kids recognize why they Encourage your children treats—try “everyday” and “some- eat, and suggest alternatives to to find activities that times” foods. automatically reaching for a snack. help them flourish And note that it takes about 20 What can your son do to make him Strategies for Success minutes after you start eating before feel valuable? Picking up an Studies have shown that children you realize that you’re getting full; elderly neighbor’s newspaper? who make small, progressive remind your child to eat slowly to Can your daughter volunteer at a modifications in behavior are able avoid getting “over-full.” recycling center? Take an art class? to build on their achievements and It may take some creativity to help make permanent changes. These Goal-Setting your child try new things, but with behaviors focus on a healthy diet Set family goals such as “eat family encouragement and partici- and increased physical activity, and healthy” or “get fit.” Break each pation, new habits are within are supported by a combination of goal into smaller objectives, such as everyone’s reach. emotional and behavioral features. “drink 8 glasses of water daily” so you’ll consistently make progress Professional Assistance toward your long-term goal. Tips to help you stay on track: You can learn more about healthy eating habits and how to incorpo- • Be positive: “I am going to walk rate them into your family’s life by when I get home from school”, as working with a registered dietitian. opposed to “I’m not going to watch If your doctor says that your TV every day when I get home child’s health is at risk, you may from school.” want to consider a formal weight • Be specific: “I am going to walk management program. A qualified on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” program will be staffed with a • Be realistic. variety of professionals (dietitians, • Write goals and objectives down. exercise physiologists, pediatri- cians, psychologists), perform a • Re-evaluate progress regularly, complete medical evaluation, focus and reward yourself (back scratches, on the whole family, and include a movies, camping trip, basketball maintenance program. Avoid any hoop) for all small and large victories. clinic, program, or fad diet that promises a quick fix or instant Self-Esteem cure. If your child is extremely Just as with adults, when kids feel overweight and/or has serious good about themselves, they’re more emotional issues regarding weight, likely to make healthy changes. Point you should consider professional Involve your kids in planning, out your child’s unique strengths and medical and/or psychological shopping and preparing meals abilities, and encourage them to find assistance in addition to the ap- activities that help them flourish. proaches suggested in this brochure.