What steps can parents take to provide support and help their child reduce obesity?
Childhood obesity is one of the nation's leading health concerns.
Dr. Margaret Lewin, medical director of Cinergy Health and a leading prevention expert and general internist, believes that childhood obesity not only results in serious medical problems, but also severely effects self-esteem issues of young kids.
• First and foremost, get help! It's extremely difficult to make long-term, substantial changes in lifestyle alone without guidance and ongoing support and encouragement.
• Help your child develop his special talents. Find a mentor to help.
• Severely limit the time your child spends on solitary, sedentary activities other than schoolwork and developing his 'special talent'. For example, set a daily limit on electronic games, watching television, surfing the Internet, texting, etc.
• Learn what a healthy diet is! Then take steps to replace unhealthy foods with those which offer better nutrition and lower calories. Serve the healthier, low-calories foods first, dampening the appetite for other foods. Find socially acceptable substitutes for what his friends are eating: for example, cut-up vegetables (instead of chips) with dips, fruit instead of high-fat, high calorie desserts. Limit portion size by using smaller plates and encourage him to share off-diet foods with friends. Replace colas with seltzer flavored with lemon, lime or even some cocoa.
• Shop more wisely; learn to prepare tasty, healthy alternatives to fattening foods; and keep healthy, low-calorie snacks readily available.