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Help for Overweight Children

 

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Related Articles:
Food Guide Pyramid
Food Plan for Your Young Child
Picky Eating
BMI Calculator
Request a "House Call" with Ann Lanza, Reg. Dietician
Ann Lanza - Biography

Health statues of the children in the United States has generally improved, however the number of children who are overweight more than doubled over the last decade.

Approximately 11% of US children are overweight and an additional 14% are at risk of becoming overweight and this number is expected to grow.

If you think your child is overweight it is important to talk to your child's doctor. The physician will determine if your child truly has a weight problem and whether this is a medical problem or a lifestyle issue.

Why are we concerned about this at such an early age?

Children who are overweight at an early age have a higher risk of developing chronic disease as an adult such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and even certain types of cancer. Also, studies have shown that overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults.

What you can do to help your child?


Be supportive - One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to let them know they are okay no matter whatever their weight. Children's feelings about themselves are often based on parent's feelings about them. It's also important to talk to your child about weight so they feel comfortable sharing their concerns with you.

Focus on the family - Family involvement helps to teach everyone healthful habits and does not single out the overweight child. Try to increase the family's physical activity. For example walk the dog together, play badminton as a family, take bike rides on the weekend or go hiking on a beautiful trail.

Teach your family to eat healthy - To encourage good health and to promote better eating habits the whole family should focus on the Food Guide Pyramid. The main focus of the pyramid is to eat a balanced and varied diet. Eating foods from the each of the major food groups everyday is the best way to assure that your child will grow well and healthy.

General Guidelines for Children up to Age 8

3 servings of milk- this can be taken in many forms like yogurt, pudding, and cheese.

2 servings of meat/ fish/beans/eggs- a good serving of protein should be served at each meal. This group helps to build strong muscles.

3 servings of vegetables - They can be canned, frozen or fresh. Try to eat different colors to assure the widest intake of vitamins and minerals.

6 servings of breads/cereals/grains - Pasta, potatoes, rice and cereal are some of the foods included in this category. This is the group that provides energy for the body.

2 servings of fruit - eat a variety of fruit throughout the week and try to eat what is in season to get the best quality and price. Fruit can be fresh, frozen, canned or fruit juice. A word of caution: limit the amount of juice served in a given day to children.

A meal should consist of one source of protein, one or two sources of grain, one source of fruit or vegetable (or both), and milk.

Don't place your child on a restrictive diet.

Unless medically necessary and under a doctor's supervision a child should never be on a restricted diet. Limiting certain foods may be harmful to their health and interfere with growth and development.

Related Articles:
Food Guide Pyramid
Food Plan for Your Young Child
Picky Eating
BMI Calculator
Request a "House Call" with Ann Lanza, Reg. Dietician
Ann Lanza - Biography

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Help for Overweight Kids