Childhood Overweight On The Rise- Tips For Parents To Overcome ItChildhood Overweight On The Rise- Tips For Parents To Overcome It

I have always been a fat child and I still   blame it on my genes- “its hereditary you see”. But today you look around and in general children across are overweight. Recently Mrs. Iyer owner and centre head of a renowned play school in South Delhi shared a newspaper article confirming that the number of   children with weight concerns has continued to rise over the past two decades.

Research shows that children become overweight for a variety of reasons. Yes genetic and medical reasons are factors too, but the most common cause (and something that we parents should worry about) is lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors!

Agreed that overweight and obese children are   at higher risk for having health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But overweight children are at an even higher risk of being bullied and teased around by their peers’ hey are also more likely and actually do suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem. The effects of this may take a toll into adulthood too, shared Ms. Ruchi counselor with a reputed preschool at South Delhi.

A bit alarming isn’t it? And do we as parents take this as a wakeup call?  Now the question is how can I help my overweight child? We are all aware of the probable actions to be taken. But are we present to them? Below are a few suggested tips to guide you and child through this phase.

1. You:  Okay my child is fat /overweight. As parents it is important that you don’t get overwhelmed with this fact. Be sensitive to your child's needs. Do not criticize. We may not be present to what the child is facing each day. How he/she may be coping with the mocks and jokes from classmates and peers.  Discuss with him/her on the benefits of a healthy life. Understand them too and their concerns. Children's feelings about themselves are often based on their parents' feelings about them, and if you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to feel good about themselves. Be supportative

2. Stay active: Today, many children spend a lot time being inactive. Ensure that physical activities become are a part of the child’s daily routine. Yes the child may be hesitant initially, but keep enrolling and encouraging him. Introduce child to a variety of activities walking, biking, dancing, badminton, football or swimming. Let him/her understand and thereafter choose what they like best. This also becomes an opportunity to meet and make new friends and socialize. Help the child understand the benefits of being physically active/ staying active. Reduce sedentary time

3. Eat healthy: Encourage healthy eating habits. Make small changes in your recipe and make his favorite dish healthier Small changes can lead. Remove the rich calorie temptations. 

4. Small portions: There is ample on the table. Don’t fill the child plate all at once. Serve them a small portion and when though they may ask for more. Serving more and forcing child to finish it all leads to child gaining weight over time. Let the child understand his/her body clock. He/she is able to judge their appetite and express it too.  With small servings you are also able to introduce child to variety of food items too. 

5. Screen time: Restrict the Childs screen time.  Limit gadget accessibility and its usage. These makes the Childs life sedentary, prevents children from doing physical. Set a routine for the child, setting time for all their daily activities from sleep, playtime, homework and TV too. Routine is not regimenting their life but helping them to understand that there is a time and pattern for everything. It brings in a sense of discipline. 

6. Role model: Parents are the role model for their child. Children tend to imitate and learn from parents only. Don’t expect child to follow a disciplined life when the same is not practice or a culture at home. He /she just won’t be able to do it. Focus on and gradually change their family's physical activity and eating habits. Living healthy is good for all! Lead by example. If your children see that you are physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active for the rest of their lives.

 “He / She look fat” is not an appropriate way to approach this concern. Probably the child needs to tone down, he may need to get active, he make need to change his /her eating habits, the child may be facing some medical concern. The best person to determine whether or not your child is overweight is your doctor, suggested Mrs. Oberio centre head of a renowed playschool in South Delhi. Be patient and sensitive and supportive and guide your child towards a healthier life.  

by Nitin Kumar
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Mother's Pride is one of the best play school in Delhi NCR.
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