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8 Ways to Help Your Child Lose Weight and Get Healthier

8 Ways to Help Your Child Lose Weight and Get Healthier

Every parent wants the best for their child, so habit changes are so important when there is a diagnosis of overweight or even childhood obesity. But when that happens, it's hard to stop and think about where to start. What to do to help a child in this situation?

Three children eating a huge slice of watermelon - "Photo: Getty Images"

To help, we have gathered tips from experts on the subject. Here are 8 ways to help your child lose weight and gain health:

1. Review Your Own Habits

In most cases of childhood obesity, the whole family is often overweight. This is not just a matter of genetics, but the habits of the house. So, before you think about changing the child's diet, how about implementing transformations in your routine first?

"Everything parents do is an example for the little ones, so it's not enough for the child to start eating healthy while the adults continue their old habits, "explains the endocrinologist Cintia Cercato, president of the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (ABESO).

Therefore, embark on this journey of healthy habits together with your child. > 2. Control the refrigerator and pantry

Do not forget that a child is never responsible for their choices. "It's parents who buy and prepare food, who guide and talk with children and their caregivers about changing the routine," says pediatrician Flávia Bello, director of HomePed (RJ). for more healthy food in your home? "This is the basis of children's dietary re-education," recalls endocrinologist Cristina Blankenburg of Santa Luzia Hospital (DF). "They need to learn or re-learn the taste of food without so much fat, sodium or sugar." and greens by hand and leave snacks and sweets for sporadic opportunities. That way, you insert more fiber and vitamins into the child's food, bringing satiety and the nutrients it needs to grow healthy.

Calorie foods can also be offered, but in smaller amounts and less often - always with guidance of a nutritionist. Cutting off these items can bring more frustration and less acceptance to the child.

3. Put limits

Changing the habits of the house can suddenly be difficult for the child initially. If she has been accustomed to chocolate, it is unusual for her to settle for the apple immediately. However, it is up to parents to put limits on this situation.

"The child does not make decisions based on consequences for his health, he is unaware of the long-term risks of poor nutrition," explains Flavia. Therefore, parents should understand that the responsibility for their choices is theirs and try not to give in to the morning.

If the child makes tantrum, the important thing is to discourage that attitude. "Do not reinforce this behavior, for example, leaving the child alone at the time of the tantrum and just talking to her when she stops," says psychologist Ana Rosa Gliber, a clinical psychologist and responsible for a study on the personality of obese children at the Institute of Psychology of the University of São Paulo (USP).

4. Set meal times

Within the limits explained above is the importance of creating meal times. This makes the child aware when to eat and encourages her to stop pinching food throughout the day.

As often, the eating habit between meals is a reflection of poor fiber eating, it can also be a matter of habit. And it is very common among overweight people.

5. Focus on what will be added to the diet

Often it is the parents themselves who make children give a negative value to healthy foods. "When you say you're leaving the candy for a special day because it's hotter, you automatically make the fruit a less tasty food," says Cynthia.

Thinking about this, a good strategy is to focus on how many new foods and yummy ones will be inserted into the child's routine rather than whining about the treats that should be reduced.

Even, why not include your child in the new menu set-up? "We should take the children to the grocery store, show them the food and take them to the kitchen to help with the preparation, all of which teaches the importance of food," says Cristina. Stop eating watching TV

Many families have a habit of eating in front of a television, which is very disruptive to the relationship with food, since neither you nor the child pay attention to what is brought to the mouth.

"Distracted, we tend to eat more food than we need to be satisfied," notes the pediatrician Flavia.

Instead, try sitting down with family and discussing the day. In addition to bringing a healthier way of eating, you may end up creating a greater bond with your child.

7. Encourage outdoor activities

In addition to eating well, it is important to spend the calories from day to day. Today, children usually stay at home with their games, TVs and cell phones. "It is very important to reduce the time before the screens for a maximum of three hours a day," says the endocrinologist Cintia.

And nothing better than to take the child out of the virtual world and take them to outdoor activities. "This creates the habit of doing physical activity, and people who practice it more control anxiety and appetite," says Cristina.

In addition, outdoor activity helps children spend the calories eaten, leaving less room to be stored in the form of fat.

8. Talk to your child

Dialogue is a vital part of the parent-child relationship, especially in times of change such as the beginning of food re-education.

"Have a playful conversation, helping your child understand that healthy habits are part of everyday life, "Cristina advises.

For the specialist, it is important to never show the child's condemnation of the restrictions and, rather, to explain that these changes are for life and for the good of the child,

Flavia indicates that older children should be warned about the negative consequences of overweight for health, but warns: "We need to hear the issues and anxieties brought about by the child and show affection, affection and love to improve their self-esteem and confidence, "concludes the specialist.

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