How to help an overweight child

Published On: Jan 17 2013 10:43:16 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 31 2013 03:36:42 PM CST

By Jack Cox, Pure Matters

And it's rampant. Almost one child in five is overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One out of four obese children will likely be obese as adults. And as many as 80 percent of obese preteens and teens will be obese as adults.

Researchers place much of the blame on fast food and a sedentary childhood. Kids today spend an increasing amount of time watching TV, playing video games, or sitting at the computer. Schools have cut back or eliminated physical education classes in favor of more academic subjects. Busy families often let nutrition slide, as they rely on fast-food meals and junk food snacks.

Although genetics may predispose a person to obesity, it largely stems from a combination of poor eating and exercise habits, so both must be addressed. In addition, a healthy food relationship is a foundation for weight control. Use food to meet basic nutritional needs and do not use it to meet other emotional and physical needs.

What to do

In general, the goal for overweight children who are still growing is not to lose weight, but rather to slow down their weight gain and allow their growth to catch up.

Research has shown time spent watching television, playing video games, or sitting in front of the computer correlates with the risk for obesity. Also, having a TV or computer in the child's bedroom is an additional risk factor for obesity. Limit TV time to 30 minutes per day for young children and one hour a day for preadolescents and teens. Take the TV or computer out of the child's bedroom.

Consult a pediatric dietitian for additional assistance. To locate one in your area, visit the American Dietetic Association website at www.eatright.org.

Source: http://resources.purematters.com/diet-nutrition/healthy-eating/how-to-help-an-overweight-or-obese-child