Checkup: How Parents Can Help Kids Lose Weight
Youíve probably heard that something like a third of kids in the United States are overweight or obese. Which is an alarming statistic, no doubt. But itís also sort of abstract. Unless, that is, you have a child whoís overweight or obese. Then, itís a very real, tricky problem. Because, what do you say to kids who need to lose weight without making them feel terrible? What can you do to help your kids without making weight loss seem like a punishment or some terrible crime?
"Really the number one overriding factor was parents losing weight."
Thatís Dr. Kerri Boutelle, an associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego.
"And all I do are child weight loss studies."
In a recent study, Boutelle looked at kids and parents enrolled in various weight loss programs, some for parents only, some with parents and kids together. And she measured a bunch of different variables.
"Things like encouraging your child to lose weight, doing activities with your child."
But the one thing that seemed to work best, actually the only thing that worked, was when parents set a good example by losing weight themselves. Itís not too hard to imagine why this works.
"Well, for one, parents, when they lose weight, theyíre modeling the behaviors that will help the child to lose weight. Theyíre also most likely setting up a home environment thatís more likely to have them eating more fruits and vegetables and exercise more and this all affects the child."
OK, but what if you donít need to lose weight but your kid does?
"For parents who donít need to lose weight, they can still eat healthier and exercise more. And maybe they donít need to cut back on as much as theyíre eating, but it wouldnít hurt anybody to eat healthier and exercise more."
Iím Jeremy Shere.