Overweight children can suffer from physical and emotional issues, according to MayoClinic.com. Children who are overweight have an increased chance of becoming heavy adults. This leads to many weight-related risk factors, such as heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and diabetes. While children cannot go on strict diets, as they are still growing, there are things that you can do to encourage a young child to lose weight. Exercise and healthy eating are key components to childhood weight loss.
Buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Prepared foods, such as cookies and cakes, provide little nutritional value and lots of excess calories. Not putting them in the house removes the temptation to let your children eat them. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so children have a choice when snack time rolls around.
Offer water and all natural fruit juices. Do not stock sugary soft drinks or other calorie-laden drinks. Though fruit juices can be high in calories, a limited amount several times a week will add nutritional value to your child’s daily diet. Adding squeezed fruit juice to water, or freezing berries in ice cubes and adding them to a glass of water can encourage young children to drink several glasses a day.
Encourage physical activity. Children who balk at mention of the word “exercise” may jump at the chance to get active. Challenging children to a foot race, a ball game or another physical activity gets them moving without calling it “exercise.” The movement not only burns calories; it also boosts metabolism so that calories are burned more quickly.
Limit television and computer time. Two hours a day will allow them to play and watch their favorite shows, but it will not let them turn into couch potatoes. Another way to handle it is to make them earn the television time. For every physical activity they take part in, they can trade minute for minute in television viewing. This encourages physical activity and gives the child some control over his activities.
Lead by example. If children see the adults in their lives being active and choosing healthy foods, they are inclined to follow suit. Join an adult softball team, and take the children with you to games, and then ask if they would like to join a children’s league. Go bowling and teach the children how to bowl. Anything you do with them will help them develop active lives, while spending time with you.