Weight Management for Children, Adolescents
Weight Control for Children
Controlling Weight in Children and Teenagers
- Let your child know he or she is loved
and appreciated whatever his or her weight. An overweight child probably
knows better than anyone else that he or she has a weight problem. Overweight
children need support, acceptance, and encouragement from their parents.
- Focus on your child's health and positive
qualities, not your child's weight.
- Try not to make your child feel different
if he or she is overweight but focus on gradually changing your family's
physical activity and eating habits.
- Be a good role model for your child.
If your child sees you enjoying healthy foods and physical activity,
he or she is more likely to do the same now and for the rest of his
or her life.
- Realize that an appropriate goal for
many overweight children is to maintain their current weight while growing
normally in height.
Weight Control for Children - Exercise
Be physically active. It is recommended
that Americans accumulate at least 30 minutes (adults) or 60 minutes (children)
of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
Even greater amounts of physical activity
may be necessary for the prevention of weight gain, for weight loss, or
for sustaining weight loss.
Plan family activities that provide everyone
with exercise and enjoyment.
Provide a safe environment for your children
and their friends to play actively; encourage swimming, biking, skating,
ball sports, and other fun activities.
Reduce the amount of time you and your
family spend in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing video
games. Limit TV time to less than 2 hours a day.
Weight Control for Children - Healthy
- Follow the Dietary
Guidelines for healthy eating.
- Guide your family's choices rather than
- Encourage your child to eat when hungry
and to eat slowly.
- Eat meals together as a family as often
- Carefully cut down on the amount of
fat and calories in your family's diet.
- Don't place your child on a restrictive
- Avoid the use of food as a reward.
- Avoid withholding food as punishment.
- Children should be encouraged to drink
water and to limit intake of beverages with added sugars, such as soft
drinks, fruit juice drinks, and sports drinks.
- Plan for healthy snacks. Stock the refrigerator
with fat-free or low-fat milk, fresh fruit, and vegetables instead of
soft drinks or snacks that are high in fat, calories, or added sugars
and low in essential nutrients.
- Aim to eat at least 5 servings of fruits
and vegetables each day.
- Discourage eating meals or snacks while
- Eating a healthy breakfast is a good
way to start the day and may be important in achieving and maintaining
a healthy weight.
If Your Child or Teenager is Overweight
Many overweight children who are still
growing will not need to lose weight, but can reduce their rate of weight
gain so that they can "grow into" their weight.
Your child's diet should be safe and nutritious.
It should include all of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for
vitamins, minerals, and protein and contain the foods from the major Food
Guide Pyramid groups. Any weight-loss diet should be low in calories
(energy) only, not in essential nutrients.
Even with extremely overweight children,
weight loss should be gradual.
Crash diets and diet pills can compromise
growth and are not recommended by many health care professionals.
Weight lost during a diet is frequently
regained unless children are motivated to change their eating habits and
activity levels for a lifetime.
Weight control must be considered a lifelong
Any weight management program for children
should be supervised by a physician.
Sources include: US Surgeon General. WIN