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Helping Your Overweight Child

Start the Journey to Better Health Together
  -- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), adults aren't the only ones at risk for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases—kids are too. More and more children of all ages are overweight than ever before. As a result, weight-related health problems that are typically found in adults are becoming more common in our kids. Overweight children are at risk for diseases that will affect them in childhood, such as Type 2 (formerly called "adult-onset") diabetes, and for health issues that they'll face as adults if they don't lose weight. By reducing your overweight child's weight gain now, or helping him lose weight by eating healthy foods and becoming active, you can lower his risk of developing several serious conditions, including: Helping Your Overweight Child
If you think your child is overweight, check with his doctor to help you evaluate your child's weight and develop a family action plan for weight management. The doctor may refer your child to see a dietitian who can help your child meet his nutrition goals. Typically, professionals will recommend one of three weight management options:
  1. Slowing down the rate at which your child is gaining weight
  2. Stopping your child from gaining weight (weight maintenance)
  3. Losing excess weight
When children are involved, any weight loss program should be monitored by professionals, such as a doctor and dietitian. When changing your family's lifestyle to emphasize healthy, long-term lifestyle changes, be sure to avoid: Getting Healthy as a Family
Besides knowing what to avoid, what should you be certain to do? Kids look to their parents to help them learn to be healthy. If you're not sure how to help your family live a healthier life, follow these tips, developed by the AHA. Remember that as a parent, it's on you to teach your kids the things that they won't learn in school or on their own. You are a mentor, a guide, and an inspiration! Getting healthy should be a family activity that everyone participates in together.