Tips to Manage Obesity in Children

Our children are precious gifts. Parents would do anything for their children just so they are given the attention, affection, and their physical needs. Clothing, shelter, food, love, care are given unconditionally.

The family as claimed by social theorists is the most basic institution of our society. They serve to locate children socially. Families play a major role in the enculturation and socialization of children. A great deal of the years of the child is spent with his or her family thus it is not big of a wonder that family stands as the most influential in the formation of character, personality, and behavior of a child.

In relation to the this, the family is one of the most significant social institution that can help in the prevention of obesity among children. It starts the reinforcements abdicated by the parents on their children. Thus, issues on health concerns of obesity can be addressed with the participation of immediate family members or significant persons.

The family has much to say about the lifestyle of a child. They provide assistance and guidance, playing as role models to the younger ones. In every aspect, the parents or guardian of child play a significant function in a child’s life. Being so, the type of behavioral patterns of a child maybe a direct contribution of his or her environment.

As known, obesity among children has become a disturbing truth especially that obesity comes along with other related health problems, more so emotional concerns for the obese individual.

All parents would like their children to experience the good life. Obesity is not about enjoying life. Below are a few tips for parents to keep your children away from those snack bars.

  • Remember that families have a broad understanding of health that includes eating and exercise patterns.
  • Assess family’s readiness to make changes.
  • Emphasize positive steps that a child and family have already taken.
  • Describe benefits for maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active such as having more energy, feeling good about one’s self and preventing injury and disease.
  • Emphasize that change works best when the whole family is involved.
  • Provide engaging and informative educational materials.
  • Set specific goals for behavioral change. For example instead of "Increase vegetable intake," try "Include one vegetable each day."
  • Write down 1 to 2 goals to work on that fit with their family and post them where they will see them every day.
  • Encourage the family to identify activities they all enjoy. It is easier to stick with something that is fun or engaging.
  • Help the child a identify ways to incorporate activity into their daily routine. Ideas include getting off the bus one stop early and walking home or taking a family walk after dinner three times a week.
  • Ask about social support for walking/ activities.
  • Provide positive encouragement. Counsel or advise a child to not get upset about what was eaten in one day, but to look at what has been eaten over a longer period of time, such as two weeks.
  • Give positive reinforcement for any active behavior. Refrain from negative comments.
  • Don’t nag or push. On days when motivation wanes, demonstrate support by offering to engage in activity with them.
  • Nurture self-esteem. Encourage good feelings about what is done right. Motivate to be healthy, not thin.
  • Never use exercise as punishment or discipline.
  • Plan fun physical activities that benefit the whole family. Set an example by speaking positively about these activities and allowing sufficient time for them.
  • Increase activity level one step at a time. Moderate changes are the most effective.
  • Changes in habits have to be for the whole family and compatible with lifestyle (e.g. take a family walk after dinner). Family support and praise are as important as low-fat foods.
  • Improve family eating behaviors by planning healthy snacks, eating more meals together, and serving smaller amounts of high-calorie foods.
  • Don’t use food as a reward or punishment.
  • Stay flexible – don’t be a tyrant when talking about food or exercise. Don’t try to control every mouthful or make your child clean his plate if he’s full.

Remember being a parent is being responsible and mature adults to our children. As parents we have a great influence on our children which can make or break them.