The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Michael Kummer.
Isn’t the rate of increase in obesity among children alarming? Is your child overweight, and you are getting worried about their fitness and health? The trend of kids becoming overweight has stirred curiosity among health practitioners and parents in recent times.
The problems associated with obesity do not just end with the difficulty of fitting the waistband on your kid’s school uniform. It hurts to know that your kid is at risk for adult-complications like type II diabetes and high levels of harmful cholesterol.
Would you love to help your overweight child to lose weight safely and successfully? Today, I share with you the tips on how you can improve weight loss in your overweight kid.
1. Make your kids eat right
Food is a critical determinant of weight. The type of diet you feed on can help you to either gain or lose weight. I recommend that you guide your kid to a healthy eating pattern. By saying diet, I loosely mean the food you eat, not the crazy three meals per day rule. Diet is just but one of the numerous environmental factors which promote and worsen obesity (1).
There is a need for your kid to understand that indeed eating healthy does not merely serve to help them lose weight but to provide the appropriate nourishment and fuel which will enable the body to work effectively.
I have adopted a Mediterranean diet in my house, and my kids have come to appreciate it. Even though it was difficult getting them to get used to it, sooner they develop a strong liking for the veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. The good thing is most kids already are familiar with the Mediterranean diet food list and all you need to do as a parent in let the foods take center stage. In addition to aiding weight loss, this diet also keeps at bay obesity-related problems like metabolic complications, type II diabetes, and heart disease.
Does your kid exhibit gluten-intolerance? This could be a plus for you. Just adopt a gluten-free diet which will ensure that they are not exposed to unhealthy high-carb foods like rice, flours, whole grains, pasta, and bread.
Can Chia seeds help?
It is crucial that you include chia seeds in your kid’s diet. Imagine this; there are ten grams of fiber in every two chia seed tablespoons. This means that chia seeds may help your kids to feel satiated for longer, thus curbing their appetite. As research holds, thirty grams of fiber can enhance weight loss and has the same weight come outcomes similar to those of a complicated weight loss diet (2).
Let your kid savor on chia seeds for increased satiation and subsequently reduce their cravings to promote weight loss and management.
2. Give your kids water instead of sweetened drinks
How often do your kids drink enough water instead of juices and sodas? I bet, the moment you stress on the need for water at the expense of this caloric and sweetened drinks, you will see many health benefits other than effective weight loss and control.
Expert views suggest that there is a positive correlation between the intake of caloric and sweetened beverages and increase of weight among children. Indeed, the Childhood Obesity Foundation pediatricians argue that this energy and sweetened drinks that children tend to consume in high volumes each day have no apparent health value to the body except for their taste (3).
Thus, I recommend that every parent should completely cut out or at least gradually reduce their kid’s consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. One perfect way to achieve this transition from sweetened drinks to water is through a fruit infuser water bottle. Your kids might fathom the taste of plain water if they were used to sweetened drinks. Fruit infused water will give them a delicious taste and sweet scent. Subsequently, they will drink more water each day. Better hydration will boost their weight loss process.
3. Encourage active playtime
Are you that cautious parent who does not want to see their kid get involved in active playtime for fear of injury or dirtying themselves up, or you are the busy guardian who even forgets that their kids need to get moving? If so, then you are greatly contributing to the kid’s obesity.
Remember, a steady decline in the degree of active playtime for your kid is a major factor in childhood obesity (4).
For kids, something as light as moving their bodies actively for a minimum of 60 minutes each day is enough exercise. Therefore, emphasis should be placed on kids completing aerobic activity as a way of increasing their caloric expenditure.
Another great way is to be part of their play. Why can’t you take your kids a log for bike riding, jogging, or even walking? These are some of the best ways your kids can get to burn more calories. If possible, your kid should learn the essence of staying active throughout their lives in the decisions they make.
For instance, you can encourage them to always walk instead of driving to the local store or a friend’s place as well as using the stairs as opposed to the elevator. If your kid happens to develop a soft spot for any game, find out if you can register them in a local club or team so that they may stay active while at home. In the end, your kid will stay fit and healthy.
4. Ensure that your kids get enough sleep
What if I told you that the amount and quality of nighttime sleep your kid gets are just as good as the food or exercise they have when it comes to weight loss? However, it is unfortunate that many kids are not getting enough sleep.
It is interesting how a lot of evidence has been gathered to justify the link between weight gain and loss of sleep. If you look keenly, sleep could be the missing factor for your kid who is struggling with weight loss.
The medical center of the Chicago University advises that when you cut back on adequate and quality sleep, you significantly impair the benefits of dieting. A dieter who gets sufficient nighttime sleep is likely to lose weight, with half of such weight being fat.
However, when one tries to lose weight even when they have cut back on quality sleep, only quarter of their lost weight will be fat. Dieters who are sleep-deprived fell hungrier, and their ghrelin hormone levels are high while leptin hormones levels are low.
Ghrelin triggers a feeling of hunger and minimizes the expenditure of energy while leptin works to create a feeling of satiation (5).
Therefore, good nighttime sleep should make your kid’s weight loss recipe. If your kid gets between seven and eight nighttime sleep hours, they are bound to double their ability to stay fit. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a parent to create a sleep-enabling nighttime environment and ensure that your kid is less active at night to promote undisturbed sleep.
5. Minimize your kid’s screen time
With technology comes a great kid’s addiction to screens. While watching TV may have deleterious obesity impacts when it becomes a lifestyle. Indeed, the longer your kid sit to watch TV, the higher the chances they will become obese.
Ask yourself what you have done to make your kid watch TV for long. Is it that there is a TV installed in their bedroom, or have you exposed your kid to TV right from their birth? The past three decades have experienced a significant increase in screen time among kids. Equally, the number of kids watching TV has gradually increased over the past.
Research shows that there is a link between obesity and greater screen time. Therefore, to reduce the incidence of obesity in children, it is essential to reduce the screen time that kids are allowed (6).
Limiting the TV and computer time has been found to trigger an improvement in body-fat, the body mass index, alongside other obesity-related measures. It is on this finding that the U.S. community preventive service task force recommends behavioral changes intended to curb screen time. These programs are bound to improve weight as it discourages the sedentary lifestyle. Such include talks with kids on the effects of longer screen time, the essence exercise, and the need for appropriate dieting.
If your kid is below two, they should not be exposed to TV, while those aged between 2 and six must be restricted to less than an hour of screen time. An hour is just enough to even for kids aged six and above each day. Therefore, you have to be strict on this if you wish to encourage your kid to adopt an active lifestyle.
In matters of weight loss for your kid, I strongly believe that you ate the single most important tool against obesity. The above tips are simple enough, and you can quickly apply them to give your kids the necessary nutrition and exercise to promote weight gain.
All along, you must ensure that you are part of these activities like exercise, appropriate diet, and enough sleep.