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According to WHO (World Health Organization), childhood obesity is one of the most pressing health problems in the world today. If you think it’s a problem of the ‘Western’ culture only, think again as three-quarters of 41+ million of obese and overweight children under 5 lived in Asia and Africa in 2016.
In the US today one in five schoolchildren are obese or overweight and that number grows with every year. Child obesity treatment is not easy as motivating a kid to stick with a healthy diet and habits is a great challenge and they often lack the maturity needed to understand how important this is for their health.
However, with some clever practices, parents can help their children switch to a healthier lifestyle. You can turn your obesity treatment plan into a family bonding opportunity and boost the program’s efficiency while doing it.
Child Obesity Treatment: 3 Ideas Every Parent Should Try
Start a family weight loss program
The first thing you need to do to help your child fight obesity is to show them you’ll be together all the way. Regardless of whether you need to lose some excess pounds yourself, starting a program is a family will give your effort an immediate boon because working out together is more efficient by default.
In case your kid struggles with making that first step, show them the way by going on a 14-day diet plan. An express diet like this is short but provides visible results. Seeing that the change is possible might give your kid the motivational boost they need to start.
You will also benefit your child simply by adhering a weight loss program yourself. For younger kids, who still build their behaviors through emulation, you will provide the right example. Older children who are expressing their individuality through independent choices can benefit simply by being near you. It’s called ‘ripple effect’ and was studied by a team from the University of Connecticut. Their research of married couples proved that the spouse who wasn’t actively participating in a weight loss program also started to lose weight, though at a much slower rate. Use this small change as additional motivation for your child to embrace your new healthy lifestyle.
Learn to make healthy treats
The hardest challenge during a childhood obesity treatment program is to make your kid believe that those delicious treats and snacks they love so much are bad for them. Explaining all the science-backed facts won’t do you much good, because abstract numbers and statistics hardly matter for a 5-year old denied candy.
A great solution can be is to replace those treats with healthy alternatives. Hit the Web looking for recipes of low-fat, low-sugar, but still delicious cookies, sweets, and snacks. This will take a lot of experimentation and you’ll have to ‘wean off’ children, especially younger ones, from their favorite junk foods. However, providing delicious substitutes will make the process easier on all of you.
Turn into an active family
While exercise is less effective for overall weight loss than diet. It’s a great health booster and motivator for leading a healthier lifestyle. However, what do you do if your child plays their console instead of ball and your family nights are usually spent playing board games or watching a movie?
You change, of course! Any child obesity treatment program must include lots of exercises, preferably a type that will get kids into doing it regularly. So try to get them into a sport, and join them in training.
If your child isn’t a fan of any sport, you can go on family biking tours or start hiking. Going for a seaside vacation and spending your days swimming is also a good plan. The point is to make your family time active and get the kid interested in continuing being active by making that time fun.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.