When children reach the age of 9 or 10, they are approaching the puberty stage and they become more aware of the changes taking place in their bodies. Most kids of this age are starting to pay attention to how they look, and it is not unusual for them to become conscious about their weight gain as well.
This is an important stage in a child’s development, and if a child is overweight he or she would usually have a harder time dealing socially with other children. Some kids may even be bullied because of their weight, or may be given nicknames that are not flattering, which may very well damage their self esteem. Unless a parent or another older person gives overweight children the reassurance and helps them with the self esteem issues at this age, the damage on their self esteem may be irreversible. It is not even unusual for children struggling with weight issues to get into a depressed state, if they frequently receive sneers and ugly comments from other kids.
How can parents help their obese or overweight children to get rid of unwanted pounds?
1. Explain to your child the dangers of being overweight or obese.
Help your child accept the fact that something should be done to get rid of the excess weight because of the risks it poses to your child’s health. Reassure your child that the weight has to come off, not because it makes him or her less lovable, but because it is the healthy thing to do.
2. Don’t let your child go through the weight loss experience alone.
Support your child or your teenager all the way, by being a positive influence. If you, yourself, are also overweight, you can join the same gym, or hire a personal instructor for both of you. You should encourage your child to do outdoor activities such as jogging, biking, tennis or swimming and lose weight in the process.
3. Examine if your family eating habits are healthy.
If everyone in your family’s on the heavy side, then most likely, your family diet needs some changes. Try making a healthy diet plan, like less junk food, more healthy snacks, and more fruits and vegetables that will not only help your whole family lose weight, but can also build up your family’s resistance to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension.
4. Finally, do not encourage your child to get into a fast weight loss diet.
Do not recommend any fad diet, or ask your child to take any diet pills that may produce harmful effects on children. Instead, consult your physician or a nutritionist to better improve your child’s eating habits and to keep him or her on a nutritious, low calorie diet. Do not forget to include exercise in the whole weight loss plan for your child and make sure that your child follows the program consistently.
For very serious cases, where you think you’ve exhausted all options, you can try taking your child or your teenager to a weight loss camp, but make sure that the program is safe.
Your child’s health should be one of your top priorities, and in the same way that you are trying to prepare your child for life’s challenges, so should you support your child in one of the biggest challenges he or she is facing right now – the battle of the bulge.