Being an overweight adult is one thing but being an overweight child is another matter entirely. Children can be cruel and being heavyset is a surefire way to become a target for taunts and teasing. But those aren’t the only problems that come with being obese at a young age. Overweight children automatically increase their chances of developing debilitating health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Help your child overcome this obstacle with the following tips.

One of the most important tips to keep in mind for parents of overweight children is to be positive. Instead of harping on your son or daughter for being obese or eating too much, encourage them to make the necessary changes required to lead a long and healthy lifestyle. Remind them of all the great things they can look forward to if they slim down and avoid focusing on the fact that they are overweight – they are very aware of that plain fact already and don’t need any more reminders. While discipline may be required don’t be harsh about it. Children can be sensitive and they should feel that you are their cheerleader rooting them on.

As a parent you should be as hands-on as possible with your child. Bring your son or daughter to the doctor and ask for instructions for a meal and exercise plan that will help your child shed the pounds. Brainstorm and come up with a realistic goal weight and regimen. Never set the standards too high since they can backfire and make your son or daughter feel worse if they cannot meet them. Instead of trying to have your child lose 5 pounds a week, take baby steps and work towards losing 2-3 pounds a week.

The best way to show your support is to also participate in your own way as a parent. Revise your grocery shopping list and eliminate the sugary, unhealthy junk foods and sodas and switch them out for fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats and water. Create meals that are both delicious and nutritious, which will help your child make the transition to better eating habits less of a challenge. For the best results, cook these same healthy foods for yourself. The worst thing you can do is isolate your son or daughter by feeding them food that is different from the rest of the family. Encourage everyone in the household to adopt better eating habits.

Because exercise is the other major factor that contributes to achieving a healthier weight, you’ll also have to show your support in this way. Adults have a hard enough time trying to stay motivated enough to stick to an exercise regimen so don’t expect your child to fall right into this practice. Make it a point to practice the buddy system and exercise together – you don’t have to join a gym or undergo a rigorous exercise regimen, either. Brisk walks around the block or playing a sport a few times a week is a great way to effectively get an overweight child to become more physically active. And don’t forget the power of the almighty compliment. If you notice your child has lost some weight, tell him/her. Nothing will brighten up their mood or drive their motivation faster than receiving positive feedback.

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