As a parent, there are many difficult conversations that you will have with your child. If you have talked to your doctor and it has been determined that your child is overweight, it’s important not to ignore the issue.
“It’s important that we talk to children from an early age about nutrition and weight to help them develop healthy habits around eating and activity,” says Leah Sabato, registered dietician at Dayton Children’s. “Don’t address weight in terms of fat or appearance but rather in terms of health. Remind your child that proper nutrition builds a healthy body and strong mind.”
Here are some additional tips to make the conversation easier:
- Remind your child that good nutrition is about getting the right amounts of the right foods. Provide a variety of healthy foods for your child to choose from.
- Instead of planning “a big talk,” use everyday opportunities to keep this conversation going. Good occasions may be when your child tires easily during physical activity or when someone you know is diagnosed with an obesity-related disease.
- Praise your child for choosing healthy foods and activities. It is your job to be encouraging and not restrictive.
“And finally, it’s important to manage the entire family and not single out one child because he or she might be overweight,” says Sabato. “The entire family should focus on healthy habits such as being active and choosing proper portions of healthy foods.”
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