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Eating problems: Overweight Kids

Note: This article is for informative purposes only. It does not replace a doctor’s opinion and recommendation.

The problem:

You must have already noticed how your kids’ pediatrician writes down their weight and height, then usually puts this data in a graphic scale, keeping track of the child’s development throughout the years. 

If, by any chance there, is a significant increase in weight – going, for example, from an amount that was in average for kids the same age to one that is higher above – that might be a sign the little one is gaining weight too fast. 

Besides analyzing weight Vs. height over time, the doctor will also take the parents weight and the overall health state of the child into consideration. 

What you can do:

Most of the time, it’s not recommended that small children go through restrictive diets, because it’s likely that they cut down on nutrients that are essential for their growth. 

What is usually recommended is to keep a very healthy eating and increase the amount of body activity so the child can get to the desired weight. 

Probably, the easiest way of doing that is by turning off the screens and having your child run around freely for at least half an hour a day. 

It’s common for overweight children to be used to fat and sugary foods and drinks. Therefore, try to ‘reeducate’ your kid’s taste into taking healthier stuff, like whole grains, natural fruit juice, fruit, veggies and legumes (some candy once in a while is OK). Just be careful with the fruit juice, even the natural ones can be too caloric when drunk in excess. 

Easier said than done. Isn’t it? Considering how hard it can be to make children eat fruits and vegetables, one alternative is to make their food more fun, by using cutters in shapes of things they like, like dinosaurs, for example. You can also incorporate these healthy ingredients in ways that they cannot be seen, such as grinding vegetables and adding them to a pasta sauce. 

Another source of fat and calories that can be controlled is milk.

After two years of age, in more extreme cases of excess weight, the doctor may recommend skim milk (a glass of whole milk has 150 calories and 8 grams of fat, while the same amount of skim milk has 90 calories and 0 grams of fat). Although this measurement can only be taken under strict medical advice. 

Finally, think about how you and your family have been eating and what kind of roll model you are when it comes to physical activity. Remember that kids learn through example. 

Depending on the case, the pediatrician may advise you to see an endocrinologist to investigate certain conditions that result in gaining weight or a nutritionist to set up a balanced and healthy diet that is not boring or too hard to follow. 

Note: This article is for informative purposes only. It does not replace a doctor’s opinion and recommendation.

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