Health Topics

Helping your Child Reach a Healthy Weight

Helping your Child Reach a Healthy Weight

Helping Your Child Reach a Healthy Weight

If your efforts at home are unsuccessful in helping your child reach a healthy weight and your physician determines that your child's health is at risk unless he or she loses weight steadily, you may want to consider a formal treatment program.

Choosing a Weight Loss Program

There are many options when it comes to choosing a weight loss program for your child. Use the helpful tips listed below when looking at weight-control programs for your child. The program should:

  • Be staffed with a variety of health professionals. The best programs may include registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, pediatricians or family physicians, as well as psychiatrists or psychologists.
  • Perform a medical evaluation of the child. Before and after enrollment in a program, your child's weight, growth and health should be reviewed by a physician.
  • Focus on the whole family, not just the overweight child.
  • Be adapted to the specific age and capabilities of the child. Programs for 4-year-olds are different from those developed for children 8 or 12 years of age in terms of degree of responsibility of the child and parents.
  • Focus on behavioral changes.
  • Teach the child how to select a variety of foods in appropriate portions.
  • Encourage daily activity and limit sedentary activity, such as watching TV.
  • Include a maintenance program and other support and referral resources to reinforce the new behaviors and to deal with underlying issues that contributed to the child becoming overweight.