8 Secrets to Help Your Child Get to a Healthy Weight
Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 kids in America are overweight or obese? It’s true. For many kids these days, an unhealthy lifestyle is setting them up for a lifetime of health problems. Being obese or overweight as a kid can lead to serious problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep problems, low self-esteem, being bullied, and more. Unfortunately, many of these kids are only following in the footsteps of their parents bad habits. You can help break that cycle by encouraging your child to be healthy, and by setting an example yourself. And you can have fun doing it! Here are 8 secrets to helping your child to a healthy weight…
1. Find out if your child’s weight is healthy
First things first. All kids grow differently, so it’s not always easy to know if your child’s weight is at a healthy level. The best measure is the body mass index (BMI). Your child’s doctor or nurse can check your child’s BMI and see if their weight is healthy. To schedule an appointment with a Vista Community Clinic pediatrician, call us today at (844) 308-5003.
2. Find a safe weight-loss program
If your child is overweight or obese, ask your doctor or nurse to help you create a weight-loss program for your child. A good weight loss program will help your kids make healthy choices about food and get more physical activity.
3. 60 minutes of physical activity every day
1 hour of fun, simple activities is all it takes to get your child on the road to physical fitness. It doesn’t even have to be 60 minutes all at once. It can be shorter activities that add up over the course of the day. Playing soccer, running, dancing, climbing trees, swinging monkey bars, jumping rope—being an active kid is all about having fun.
4. Be a role model
Your kids are looking to you to set an example. It’s a fact that kids whose parents choose healthy are more likely to choose health themselves. Plus, being active and eating healthy are great ways to spend time with your kids. And a healthy lifestyle will make sure you’re around to see them grow up into strong, healthy adults themselves.
5. Shop, cook, and plan for healthy meals
It’s simple: if your fridge is stocked with healthy food, then you’ll eat healthily. Make a shopping list of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grain foods, and shop together with your kids. Let your child pick out healthy foods to try. Skip the soda or juice, and drink water or low-fat or fat-free milk instead. Children under 2 can drink whole milk.
6. Eat healthy meals at home as a family
When families eat together, kids are more likely to eat vegetables and fruits instead of junk food. Let your kids help prepare healthy meals and set the table. Healthy mealtime habits include stopping eating when you’re full, not when the plate is empty. Starting the day around the table is a good idea too. Skipping breakfast can make kids get hungry and tired, and more likely to snack on junk food once later in the day.
7. Limit screen time
Time spent in front of TV screens, computers or smartphones is time not spent being active. Limit screen time to 2 hours a day (or less) for kids age 2 and older. Make the rules about screen time clear and enforce them.
8.Kids need their sleep
Studies have shown that if kids don’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to be overweight or obese. Here are some guidelines for healthy sleep:
- Teens need at least 9 hours of sleep every night
- School-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep every night
- Preschoolers need 11 to 12 hours of sleep every day
- Newborns need 16 to 18 hours of sleep every day
At Vista Community Clinic (VCC), we believe that healthy kids are happy kids. And healthy kids eat well, play well, and feel great. Our pediatric nutritionists and medical providers are here to provide one-on-one counseling to help get your kids to a healthy weight.
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The medical information contained on this article is general in nature and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for the advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by your own physician or a qualified healthcare provider. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with your own physician or a qualified healthcare provider. Although every effort is made to ensure the information provided is accurate and timely, it is provided for convenience and should not be considered official.