All About Childhood Obesity

What can be done to treat obesity?

  • Talk with your pediatrician, who will consult growth charts to determine the most appropriate target weight range for your youngster. This ideal range will depend on a number of factors, including your youngster's sex, age, height, and body build.
  • If recommended by the pediatrician, the child should begin a physician-guided weight-loss program.
  • Consult with a nutritionist to educate yourself and your child about healthy eating habits.
  • Ensure your child is eating a balanced diet with enough vitamins and minerals.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water.
  • Provide your child with fun opportunities for regular exercise.
  • Limit your child's television and video game time.
  • Keep low-fat, low-sugar, and healthy snacks at home.
  • Do not serve or buy fatty, sugary, or salty snacks at home.
  • Be supportive.

Fad diets are not healthy for obese youngsters. A far better approach instead is for an overweight child to consume a variety of foods like fresh vegetables, baked poultry and fish, and fruit that are relatively low in calories but have a high nutritional value. While you can limit portion sizes, don't severely restrict your child's caloric intake or you may risk interfering with his normal growth.

It's not easy to lose weight, and your child will benefit greatly from your support and encouragement. If your child is upset about changing his diet, or is frustrated by increased patterns of physical activity, help him get back on course by talking with him and spending time brainstorming lifestyle solutions and alternatives.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Reviewed 2/02 by Jane Forester, MD

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's health.

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