Obesity is an increasing problem for children. As in adults, there is no quick and easy way for kids to lose weight. Instead, many overweight kids end up becoming overweight adults. Healthy eating and physical activity habits are key to your child’s well-being. Eating too much and exercising too little can lead to overweight and related health problems that can follow children into their adult years.
Tell your child that he or she is loved, is special, and is important. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them. Accept your child at any weight. Children will be more likely to accept and feel good about them when their parents accept them. Listen to your child’s concerns about his or her weight. Buy and serve more fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned). Let your child choose them at the store. Buy fewer soft drinks and high fat/high calorie snack foods like chips, cookies, and candy. Eat breakfast every day. Skipping breakfast can leave your child hungry, tired, and looking for less healthy foods later in the day. Plan healthy meals and eat together as a family. Eating together at meal times helps children learn to enjoy a variety of foods. Eat fast food less often.
Start with small servings and let your child ask for more if he or she is still hungry. It is up to you to provide your child with healthy meals and snacks, but your child should be allowed to choose how much food he or she will eat. If your children see that you are physically active and have fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active throughout their lives. Encourage your child to join a sports team or class, such as soccer, dance, basketball, or gymnastics at school or at your local community or recreation center. Children are good learners and they learn what they see. Choose healthy foods and active pastimes for yourself. Your children will see that they can follow healthy habits that last a lifetime.
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