It’s a touchy subject not only for kids, but their parents as well.
“Usually the best way to do it is to kind of address it purely from a health standpoint, not from an overweight standpoint,” said Dr. Ben Doga, a family practice physician.
Dr. Doga says as uncomfortable as it is, it’s important to address it.
“One of the most important things that you can do is to not say that they’re overweight,” said Amanda Knighten, a personal trainer at Cajun Fitness. “As a parent you want to try and get them involved.”
Knighten believes sedentary lifestyles have become very common, but there are ways your kids can break away from what’s become the everyday norm.
“Start to try to do some of the key things early on, like increasing their overall activity,” said Dr. Doga.
“Making them move, limiting their time that they’re able to spend playing on video games, getting them outside, doing things with them,” said Knighten.
It’s recommended that up until age 14, kids should focus on maintaining their weight, and not so much on extensive weight loss.
Dr. Doga says it starts by keeping a close eye on what goes inside the shopping cart while at the grocery store.
“Maybe keeping less sugary snacks around the house, maybe avoiding some of the sugary drinks,” said Dr. Doga.
“By cutting out the processed foods, by cutting out the sugars, little changes that you do as the parent can have a huge impact on the child, they will see the differences and everyone else will just by you pulling those things and not having them in the household,” said Knighten.
Knighten agrees that when it’s time to fill the pantry, she puts her son’s skills to the test.
“When I go to the grocery store with my son I let him have cereal, but he has to look at the label, he has to go pick out the cereal, and he has to determine how much sugar is in it,” said Knighten.
Even if your kids are physically fit, parents should still make it a habit to monitor how much sugar intake your child gets from the foods they eat, and if your kids appear to be a little overweight, Knighten says in most cases it’s nothing to panic about.
“Kids are going to go through typical growth spurts. They’re going to probably put on a little bit of weight, some of them,” said Knighten. “As long as they’re within their growth chart with their pediatrician then I wouldn’t worry so much about it.”
Knighten says you don’t want to tear down your kid’s self-esteem, so instead break down the importance of the food groups with them and help them develop a love for working out at an early age.
“If we can correct it when they’re younger then we won’t have the problems as they get older into adulthood and face some of those disease processes that it can lead to,” said Dr. Doga.