You Are At: AllSands Home > Kids > Health > Obesity in children: management and prevention
Childhood obesity (overweight) is a common problem.Children need to be taught to develop good eating habits to avoid gaining excess weight. Check with your child's doctor to confirm that his obesity isn't due to genetics or some other medical problem. Parents can help the child by being supportive of him. Never make fun of him. Explain why he has to lose weight. Gather family support for him. The parent must also be a role model and show good eating habits.

The child needs to grow vertically but not horizontally. Don't put him on a strict diet. Maintain the food pyramid of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils and vitamins and minerals.This is necessary for a balanced diet. Reduce the servings of fatty foods. Other foods are also to be consumed in moderation. Remove empty calories from junk food like sweets and snacks. Improvise to give him healthy snacks like milk, fruit or plain biscuits. Don't eliminate his sweets totally. He'll feel miserable of this deprivation. Limit the amount to be consumed over a week. Slowly replace the sweets with dried fruit to wean off the sweet tooth.

Don't use food to punish or reward a child. They may overeat unnecessarily. Keep a lock on the pantry. Leave healthy snacks readily available on the kitchen counter or fridge.

Teach the child to appreciate healthy meals by encouraging involvement in meal preparations.Don't allow the kid to eat in front of the TV. This makes a bad habit of always eating whenever the telly is on.

Teach the child what foods to buy when he's eating outside home. Kids love fast food. Ask him what he had by himself. If fast food is a must, then limit the meal to small portions. Another trick is make the child drink a glass of water or milk before the meal. He won't feel so hungry as to gobble down more food than sufficient to satisfy his hunger.

Children like variety in their menu.Parents can improvise and invent healthy meals. Emphasize the importance of vegetables as kids tend to hate greens and stuff themselves with meats.

Do some exercise together as a family.It promotes bonding too. Get into some fun activities like rollerblading, biking or sports. Initially the persuasion may be tough but once the ball starts rolling, there's no stopping him.

Set realistic goals for him to lose weight. Offer loads of praise for goals achieved.Keep track of his weight and eating habits. Children need guidance to avoid backsliding.