Obesity is one of the most common nutritional problems among children in prosperous Western societies. Most plump children, however, are not medically overweight, and no special action is needed as long as they are healthy and active.
If you think your child is overweight – that is, markedly fatter than her friends – consult your doctor, who will be able to tell you if your child’s weight is above the normal range for her height.
The most common causes of Overweight Child are a poor diet and lack of exercise. The best way to help the child is often for the whole family to adopt a healthier diet: less fat and sugar, more fresh fruit and vegetables, and more unrefined carbohydrates.
You should never aim to make your child actually lose weight; aim for her weight to remain stable while she grows in height. These guidelines may help:
- Bake, grill, and boil foods rather that roasting or frying
- Give water or diluted fruit juice when your child is thirsty. Never give sweetened drinks or soda
- Give whole-grain bread, raw vegetables, and fruit as snacks
- Whole-grain bread and pasta and brown rice are more filling than their refined equivalents
- Encourage your child to be active by playing lively games with her and her playmates
- Children 12-3 months old should drink 24 ounces of milk each day to meet their need for calcium. Low-fat or skim milk can be used over one year of age.