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How Can I Help If My Child Is Starting to Have Weight Problems?

A child’s growth has its unpredictable elements along with normal development milestones. Body weight is one of those fluctuating aspects that may seem difficult to gauge what’s normal. A child who appears overweight may be due for a growth spurt that returns normal proportions to their body. 

Continued weight gain risks a lifetime of dealing with obesity, the root cause of many preventable metabolic and orthopedic problems. As a parent, you can’t wait indefinitely for an overweight child to grow into their body mass. 

Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon MD can help with your child’s weight management, checking for medical issues that might contribute and offering guidance for getting body mass back on track. It’s a partnership that pays dividends for years to come. 

Relationships with food

As with adults, weight problems in children are often part of their overall lifestyle and wellness. When medical reasons for weight gain, like Cushing’s syndrome and thyroid disease, are ruled out, evaluating your child’s relationship with food is an important factor as a baseline for helping reverse the issue. 

There are many reasons we eat and these go beyond responding to feelings of hunger. Your child might be eating out of boredom or habit, or choosing foods high in calories and low in nutrition. 

Activity and calorie burn

Another side of the weight gain equation focuses on the energy burned by your child on a daily basis. Sedentary pastimes like gaming and watching TV mean that even a balanced and healthy diet might provide a calorie load that isn’t burned off. 

When it comes to both intake and consumption of calories, it’s important as a parent to look at many aspects of your child’s life. 

How can I help if my child is starting to have weight problems? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend five areas to address to build healthy routines that make weight management easier for both your child and you. 

Improved sleep habits

A basic foundation for many aspects of health is sleep. Helping your child develop a regular circadian rhythm tends to promote both reduced food consumption and more physical activity, as well as keeping them fresh and alert through the day. 

Limiting salt, saturated fat, and sugar

Choosing snack foods often comes down to convenience and flavor. Candy, salty fried snacks, and prepared meats deliver the unhealthy triumvirate of salt, saturated fat, and sugar. Providing ready-to-eat snacks featuring fresh fruits and vegetables may cost you prep time, but when they’re available and at hand, these become the snacks of choice for your child. 

Healthy meal habits

Taking the fresh food bonus a step further, you can revamp your family meals to include fresh ingredients and calorie-friendly cooking methods. A home-based healthy eating routine becomes a self-perpetuating habit. 

Reduced screen time

The lure of digital screens is enormous, and reducing screen time can be one of the most challenging parental tasks. As well as weight gain, too much time using digital screens can interfere with sleep and lower grades in school. Provide alternative activities built around your child’s interests, provided that they include physical movement. 

Keep active

Once they’re away from the screens, your child benefits from regular activity in a range of ways, including and beyond weight management. Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity daily for most children so that they can enjoy all the advantages of fitness. Consider strategies like: 

A childhood weight problem has too many potential downsides to ignore. Contact Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon MD for physician-supervised weight management for your child. Call or click to make an appointment today.

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