Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Helping an Overweight Child

As adults we often tend to focus on ourselves or other adults when it comes to dieting and maintaining a healthy weight. But, what about overweight children?
Here below are great suggestions from Dr. Ludwig with WebMD

1. How do I know if my child's weight is unhealthy?

Well, you can look for signs of being overweight. Is your kid having trouble keeping up with other kids in sports? Is he outgrowing standard clothing sizes? But the best way is to look at the growth charts, which your pediatrician should be doing regularly. You can find out how your child's BMI (body mass index) compares with those of other kids. If your child is overweight or obese, you need to take action. Some parents of obese kids want to write off the issue. They say, "Oh, he'll grow out of it." But all we have to do is look around us. It's very obvious that many, many children are not growing out of it.

2. What are the potential health effects of being overweight or obese as a child?

We know that obesity in childhood increases the risk of becoming an obese adult and developing all the complications that can go with adult obesity -- diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.
But the risks of childhood obesity aren't all in the future. It causes immediate problems, too. Excessive weight affects virtually all of the organ systems in a child's body. It can exacerbate asthma and trigger sleep apnea. It causes a range of heart disease risk factors and problems with the GI tract, liver, bones, muscles, and joints. We've seen high blood pressure in kids as young as 5 years old.
Having excess weight in childhood is serious, because it's a pivotal moment in development. The organs are still forming. Excess weight can affect how a child grows and develops, and that can have long-term repercussions. Unless you do something now, these changes will be very hard to deal with later.

What are some things I can do to help my kid lose weight?

At our clinic, we try to address this on multiple levels. It's important to realize that obesity isn't caused by one thing. It's the result of a combination of factors: the foods we eat, our physical activity level, emotional issues, stress levels, family dynamics, finances, and societal influences.
Of course, physical activity and diet are crucial. Contrary to what a lot of popular diets suggest, we don't recommend cutting out specific macronutrients -- like fat or carbs. Those approaches are counterproductive, because they're too hard to follow in the long term. Instead, we concentrate on the quality of the foods. We also use what's called the low-glycemic eating plan, which helps stabilize the surge in blood sugar that occurs after a meal. It helps people feel fuller and makes them less likely to overeat.

You may need to change some of your own behaviors. You need to model healthy eating and physical activity. You may also have to adjust how you deal with your kids. Nagging, criticism, and excessive restrictions on food don't work. We see many families that put so much energy into fighting over body weight and nutrition that there's actually very little energy left over to make any healthy changes.

To continue reading please click on the following link: http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/expert-q-and-a-helping-your-child-with-weight-loss

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