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How to help an overweight child
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How to help overweight and obese children

How to help overweight and obese children

Only 1% of cases of childhood obesity have medical causes (genetic or thyroid-related factors). In the vast majority of cases, immediate and simple changes to a child's lifestyle and diet are enough to solve the problem.

> Swap processed food for fresh: You don't have to turn into an organic goddess (we don't all have the time or the money!) or even buy everything fresh (ditto) to introduce healthier, fresher and more natural foods into your child's diet. For example, swap their usual slice of refined cake for a piece of fresh bread and a couple of squares of chocolate, and chemically-processed fruit juice or purée for a piece of fresh fruit. Even burgers and high-calorie foods are much healthier when they're home-made rather than bought from McDonalds or ready-made. When food is refined and processed it always has fat, sugar and salt added. Use raw ingredients: you'll reduce the calorie count and get your children used to the 'real' taste of fresh ingredients rather than the taste of manufactured flavourings.

> Exercise every day: Encourage your children to play outside rather than spend their free time sat in front of the TV or computer. Take them for walks when you can, encourage them to play with other kids (they'll be less inclined to want to sit in front of a screen), and enrol them in sports clubs. Experts recommend half an hour of exercise a day. 

> Don't use food as comfort: Some parents think happy, healthy children should be chubby, and tend to automatically feed them whenever they cry. Obviously a child who is hungry may cry for food, but getting a child into the habit of food for comfort and consolation is dangerous. Children also cry because they want a hug, some attention or maybe just a nap!  


Sarah Horrocks
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