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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I manage my son's childhood obesity?

    My son is only 10 years old but already obese. I am extremely worried about his future. He is at a young age where it is difficult to restrict him from eating certain foods and amounts (he loves to eat). He doesn't understand that his weight can affect his health/appearance later on. Any advice would be helpful.
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  • I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian with more than 30 years experience. Particular areas of interest and expertise are in Obesity & Weight Mgt, Type 2 … View Profile

    At 10 years of age, I would hope parents still have a major influence over what happens at home and at school, in terms of what is offered at home and what is sent to school with regard to food and food choicesl. The other big thing here is to make sure your child is active.  Many kids these days are unsupervised when they get home from school, and even if they do have a parent at home, they are left to their own devices.  There are too many distractions these days with computers, computer games, X Box, I Phones and TV.  Many kids come home and just sit.  It is extrememely important that children are encouraged to go outside and play, kick a soccer ball, jump on a trampoline, tennis lessons etc.  When I was a child of that age, I would come home from school, I was offered a piece of fruit for afternoon tea and told to go out and play until the bell was rung over the balcony, signaling to come in for dinner…..how times have changed.  We need to get back to basics!  If you need more individual / specific advice please contact me… www.diabetesweight.com.au   I'd be happy to help…

  • Lisa Renn

    Dietitian

    Lisa is an APD with 12 years experience, specialising in helping people identify and change habits that impact negatively on their health. Inspiring change, Lisa … View Profile

    Hi there,
    This is a tricky issue because the last thing you want to do is to give your son too many hang ups about his weight but you also want to be able to help him lose weight or more particularly maintain his weight as he continues to grow.
    For me, as well as the activity recommended by Diane, it is most important to take the whole family approach to healthy eating. By singling out your son, while letting other members of the family eat what they like (because they don't have a weight issue), you will be creating life long hang ups with food and weight.
    Make a decision as a family to eat less take away foods, to have less biscuits and chips in the house, to increase fruit and veggie intake, to get out together and be active.
    All the best.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    You’ve heard it before — We have an obesity epidemic going on, and it’s not only affecting adults, it’s hitting children too. Instead of focusing on the possible causes of childhood obesity, I’d like to suggest ways to help you prevent it. For younger children, most changes will occur with the help of parents, caregivers, teachers, and other adults in their lives. Here are some tips to help your child: Dealing with children is extremely difficult as you can easily cause emotional dmage if you are not sensitive.
    Be a good role model. Children pick up on everything around them, and if you aren’t eating healthy, balanced meals and participating in daily activities, how can you expect them to?! Lead the way to a healthy lifestyle.
    Get your child involved in the kitchen. No matter how young children are, there is a place for them in the kitchen. Whether they just hand you ingredients or help you stir them together, kids will learn that cooking is fun. If you order in or go out to dinner every night they’ll never learn the benefits of cooking at home and the different fresh ingredients.
    Encourage activity. Instead of playing video games, children should be out on a field or in the backyard playing active games. Sign your child up for sports teams or go for a bike ride with them a few times a week. Again, if you’re active, they’ll be more inclined to get up and go!
    Prepare balanced meals and snacks. Kids, just like adults, need a balanced plate of vegetables, lean protein, healthy carbs, and some healthy fat. Children’s favourites like macaroni and cheese can be made healthier by using whole wheat pasta, fresh cheese, and adding veggies and protein like broccoli, peas, caulflower and edamame.
    Keep in mind that healthy doesn’t mean bland. Treats don’t have to be off the table completely and nutritious food can definitely be delicious. Remember this at all times!
    Be supportive. Body image and weight issues start earlier than ever these days and your child needs all the support he can get. Even if your child is overweight, it’s important to treat him the same as your other children and other kids. If you make changes to their diet, make changes to the diets of the rest of the household too. And if your child is being picked on because of his weight, don’t hesitate to go to the principal of the school to deal with the issue.
    Childhood obesity is a complex issue and the above are only a handful of tips to help you and your family stay healthy. I would take your child to see an Accredited Practicing Dietitian in your area to help you and your family live a healthy, nutritious life.




  • Janice Bartley

    Massage Therapist, Western Herbal Medicine Practitioner

    Janice Bartley is a university qualified Medical Herbalist who fosters an evidence-based integrative approach to healthcare. Integrative healthcare focuses on the complexities of each individual’s … View Profile

    I'm not sure where exactly you are from, but there is an excellent program that runs in some parts of Australia specifically aimed at helping children overcome overweight and obesity.

    Go4Fun is a free healthy living program for kids to become fitter, healthier and happier. The program is fun and interactive and supports 7 – 13 year old children and their families to adopt a healthy lifestyle and a long lasting and healthy approach to living. Children and their families become fitter, healthier and happier as they have fun, meet new friends and learn new skills.

    For more information on the program including the location closest to you can call 1800 780 900 or register online at www.mendcentral.org

    (Please know that I am not at all affiliated with the Go4Fun program, I simply have a passion for conquering chronic disease and support all programs that assist with this cause.)

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