The prevalence of obesity in the adolescent realm is on the rise. This text is aimed to provide simple tips and tools to help manage children who are at risk of becoming or are currently overweight/obese. Excessive weight greatly affects a child’s physical and psycho-social well being as well as compromises their health in the future. Children who are considered overweight or obese are at significantly greater risk of developing chronic diseases as adults.
- Establish regular scheduled meals with small snacks in between. If snacks are provided, offer fruits and vegetables.
- Promote consumption of fruits and vegetables as often as possible. Add to smoothies or serve with a fun low sugar/low fat dips or sauce.
- Eat meals as a family at the dining room table. Avoid eating in front of the television or computer. Family meals are heavily encouraged.
- Avoid ALL sweetened beverages including juice. They are empty calories and packed with sugar that contribute to weight gain and poor dental health.
- Increase physical activity and fitness- get your kids involved with organized sports, promote walking or biking to school, and encourage regular walks with the family dog or spending time outside with neighborhood friends.
- Any activity counts! Yard work, gardening, house chores.
- Reduce sedentary activities- limit television, smart phone, and computer time daily.
- Make an appointment with your Primary Care Provider for lab testing, measurements and potential referrals for further education and support.
- Work with a Registered Dietitian for individualized meal planning as well as additional tips on nutrition and fitness.
Article written by Lindsey Hughes, Registered Dietitian, Northern Inyo Hospital