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Childhood Obesity.

author:Philip Smith

Childhood Obesity

7 tips to help your child slim down & avoid devastating health problems

Jun 03 \'04

Nine million American kids are now dangerously overweight, with the numbers increasing every day, warns an expert.

\"It\'s estimated that as many as one in four children in the U.S. are overweight,\" Amy Lanou, Ph.D., nutrition director of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., told The ENQUIRER. \"It\'s shocking.\"


Worried parents are frantic because they don\'t know how to help their children escape devastating health problems like diabetes and heart disease, as well as cruel social embarrassment, caused by weight gain.

But an ENQUIRER investigation has found that there are simple, effective steps parents can take to ensure that their children slim down and stay healthy.

Here, from Dr. Lanou, coauthor of \"Healthy Eating for Life for Children,\" are tips that could save your child\'s life:

  • Serve only healthy foods at home.

    Start your babies off right with fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes as they are being weaned so that they become accustomed to those foods.

    If you are starting with a 13-year-old who is already overweight, you have to go at it more slowly. Sit down with your child and say: \"It\'s time for our family to start eating more healthy foods.\" You need to involve the whole family so your child doesn\'t feel singled out.


  • Send your kids to school with healthy foods. Part of the problem is that schools serve foods similar to those in fast-food restaurants. Send your kid to school with a healthy lunch -- for example, an apple, an orange, a hummus and tomato sandwich or a bean burrito.

    Your kid will worry that he or she won\'t fit in because all their friends will be eating the school lunch. But kids don\'t like to be overweight, and if you\'ve gotten them to see why they are overweight, and how they can lose weight, it shouldn\'t be a problem.

  • Get active as a family. Go for a walk together after dinner. Go to the park and play Frisbee. Go to a gym, swim or go biking -- anything that gets you exercising.

  • Don\'t let your kids eat in front of the TV. If they eat in front of the TV, they\'ll be focusing on what they\'re watching and can end up eating far too much.

    Plus, they\'ll be seeing all sorts of tempting food commercials, and that\'s just going to cause them to want more food.

  • Get a pedometer. This is a gadget that counts the number of steps you take. Kids love them. If the whole family has them, it quickly becomes a contest to see who walks the farthest. Shoot for 10,000 steps in a day.


  • Avoid food fights with your kids. If you tell your child: \"I want you to eat this broccoli,\" the next thing you know you\'re in a power struggle and they rebel.

    Avoid this by letting your child have a say in what foods are being served. If it\'s something you all eat, your child won\'t feel singled out.

  • Don\'t use snacks as a reward. Too often a parent will encourage a child to do something by promising a treat. You might say: \"O.K., if you do your homework I\'ll take you out for an ice cream.\"

    Find other ways of rewarding your child. Sometimes it can be as simple as praising your child. All of us love praise. Children are no exception. --


  • 2012