Adults aren’t the only ones who suffer with weight issues.
Alarmingly, stats reveal 25% of Australian kids are overweight or obese – and this number is climbing following the pandemic, when it wasn’t easy for children to burn off their energy.
Most of the time, children obesity is directly due to a poor diet. But experts urge parents to help their kids manage their weight in a positive way without creating any self-esteem issues.
Why it’s important to talk to our kids about their bodies and weight in a positive way
One expert, Dr Giuseppe Aragona, explained that education is key to helping children eat well.
“As a parent, the best thing you can do to encourage your child to have a healthier balanced diet and to ensure they aren’t overeating is to educate them on foods and the food groups and try to conscious buy when you go shopping,” he told the Daily Mail.
It’s never easy talking with your children about their weight, as you don’t want to cause any long-term eating issues, such as emotional eating or anorexia.
Body positivity and nutritional awareness can be taught by parents by setting an example.
Parenting experts also reveal how families who cook and exercise together can help their children lose weight and lead a better lifestyle.
1. Consciously shopping and not stacking the cupboards with junk food
Cooking healthy dinners from scratch is the best way to ensure your child is eating the right food.
“Conscious buying is essentially a way of shopping that means you are only buying foods for the family that is healthy as opposed to buying sugary snacks and drinks,” says Dr Aragona.
2. Teach your child how to cook
Help your child learn how to prepare healthy meals and be more aware about what they are putting into their body.
Often, junk food is the easier option but not the best option. Teach them to make healthier meals and snacks themselves.
3. Don’t make exercise a chore
Exercise is beneficial for our physical and mental health and it’s important you have a positive attitude about it around your child.
If you make it seem like a chore or ‘the enemy’ then your child will want to avoid it. Get them involved, go for family walks and make exercise seem like a fun pastime that is part of your everyday or weekly routine.
4. Encourage healthy sleeping habits
Being overweight isn’t always down to poor diet, it could be related to lack of sleep or stress.
Keep communication open with your child open at all times and let them know you are there to support them and help them if anything is bothering them and causing them to emotionally eat.
Also, by having a set routine and bedtime, it may help kickstart their metabolism and alleviate any stresses.
5. Limit devices and social media
Playing on devices or scrolling through social media can cause kids to go into a trance-like state and this can lead to mindlessly eating.
Have set times for your child to use their devices and encourage them to get out of the house and socialise with their peers at after-school activities or take them for a walk as a family after school.
6. Offer praise
Offering praise can help your son or daughter succeed in getting down to a health weight. Rewarding them with non-food items for their hard work will encourage them to want to lead a healthier lifestyle.
7. Don’t rush them or put pressure on them
Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t focus on calories or the number on the scales, teach them how leading a healthier lifestyle overall is a better way of losing weight than crash dieting.
8. Set a good example
Kids learn from their parents, so it’s imperative you set a good example for your children. Join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge if you feel you need to change your eating and lifestyle habits.