One of every six children or teenagers are overweight.
Children can't change their exercise and eating habits by
themselves. They need the help and support of families
and other caregivers. Childhood obesity is usually caused
by kids eating too much and exercising too little. Here are
a few tips to get you started:
Change Family Behavior
It's not a race. The first rule of change is to not make changes too quickly. It takes time
and dedication to break unhealthy behaviors and to develop new, healthy ones.
Think small. Small, gradual changes are easiest to follow and incorporate into your
daily lives. For example, turning off the TV while eating, switching from soda to skim
milk or water, or taking a walk after dinner three times a week.
Get moving. A good rule of thumb is to participate in an hour of physical activity every
day. This could be as simple as unstructured play like riding a bike with friends or a
structured activity such as soccer or dance class.
Set Individual and Family Goals
Goals should be achievable and measurable. For example, your child's goal might be to
eat fresh fruit and vegetables for snacks while the family's goals might be to only eat fast
food once a week. Having too many goals can set you up for failure. Start with two simple
goals and work your way up. Give rewards when goals are achieved. Rewards should be
consistent and given either daily or weekly. Do not make food a reward or punishment.
Also, avoid something like a new video game, which encourages less activity.
Seek Professional Help
If you are concerned about your child's weight, it is best to first have them evaluated by a
physician. For diet information and support, seek the services of the nutrition expert, the