How To Cope If Your
Child Is Fat
Dr Vernon Coleman
A lifetime of obesity
and dieting often begins in childhood.
Children who are fat often stay
fat - and find it extremely difficult to lose excess weight later in life.
At least one in four children is overweight, and obesity is now one of
the biggest health problems facing children.
Children who are overweight
are likely to:
* grow up to be fat adults
* develop heart disease
develop high blood pressure
* develop chest problems
* develop bone and
* develop diabetes
* find exercise difficult
from more colds and coughs
* suffer from anxiety and depression
victims of bullying at school
* suffer from loneliness
The vast majority
of overweight children get fat because they eat too much - or eat the wrong
foods. It is rare for a child to be fat because he or she suffers from a hormone
or glandular problem.
You can help your child get slim and stay
But you must take care.
If you push too hard you could make
your child anorexic. Remember that pound for pound growing children need twice
as many calories as adults. A child who weighs just five stones will probably
need as many calories as an adult who weighs ten stones. Many of those extra
calories are needed to help the child grow.
Twelve Ways to Help
Children Lose Excess Weight - And Stay Slim
1. Never push them into
eating up all the food on their plate if they say they are full. If you are
worried that they aren't eating enough talk to your doctor. If you push children
into eating more than they want you could make them fat for life - by teaching
them bad eating habits.
2. Try to teach them the facts about foods. You
will be surprised at how interested most children are in what they eat. Explain
why fresh vegetables and fruit are good (they're full of vitamins and fibre and
low in fats) and why chocolate and cake are bad (they are low in fibre and
vitamins and full of sugar and fat).
3.Remember that many children
overeat because they are looking for love. Give children plenty of love and they
won't need to suck on bars of chocolate to cure their unhappiness.
consistent. And be fair. Don't advise your children to cut down on the
chocolates and then let them see you pigging out on a whole bar of chocolate. If
you are overweight then you too should try to control your weight. Your children
will find weight control difficult to understand if they see their parents
eating anything and everything - and ignoring their own weight
5. Encourage children to eat slowly. Fat children often eat far
too quickly. Teach children to chew properly. And remember that good table
manners will help keep weight down.
6. Remember that breast fed babies
are probably less likely to become fat than bottle fed babies.
use food as a punishment or a reward. If you do then your children will
associate food with emotional as well as physical needs.
8. Make sure
that children have a good breakfast but eat as little as possible in the evening
when calorie requirements are at their lowest.
9. Encourage children to
eat when they are hungry as far as possible. Do not allow children to read or
watch television when they are eating. Children who eat while doing something
else will not be aware of their appetite control centre. They will just keep
cramming food into their mouths automatically, regardless of whether or not they
are still hungry.
10. Try to keep children out of the habit of eating
lots of sweets. Sweets ruin the teeth and are usually rich in calories. Teach
children to understand which foods are fattening.
11. Encourage children
to take regular exercise. Too many parents insist on carrying their children
everywhere by car.
12. Weigh children regularly. If they seem to be
gaining weight too quickly then try to correct this. It will be easier to make a
modest correction now than to try to deal with a massive weight problem in a
year or two's time.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2007 There is
more advice on healthy eating in `Food for Thought' by Vernon Coleman. Available
from the webshop on this site, and from all good bookshops.