Helping Your Child Reach a Healthy Weight

Plan a Family Fun Day

Pick one day a week where the entire family does something active. Take turns, where each week a different family member is responsible for coming up with an idea for a fun family outing. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Go fly kites
  • Have a family football game, or baseball game, or hockey game, or soccer game -- whatever you enjoy best
  • Explore nearby parks, zoos, aquariums, or trails
  • Go swimming
  • Take a family bike ride
  • Go horseback riding
  • Go rollerblading.

TV With a Twist

So let's say your kids have favorite TV shows that they just have to watch. Fine. Everything in moderation, right? But how about this twist: Declare commercials a "no sitting still" time. During commercials, everyone has to be moving in some fashion -- jumping jacks, running in place, toe touches, hula hoops -- just get moving!
You can even put the TV time to your advantage in other ways. Many gaming systems combine game play with physical activity in such a way that parents and kids alike can "exercise" without it feeling like work. But what if such a device isn't in your budget? Again, no problem! Pop in a CD and have a dance revolution in your own living room!
Speaking of TV and other media, it's a good idea to put limits on the amount of time your kids spend on these devices. Sometimes, that may mean setting the parental control features to enforce this. One to two hours a day is a good rule of thumb.

Final Thoughts

If your child is overweight or obese, please understand that you need to do something about this. Now. There is a 70 percent chance that an obese adolescent will continue to be obese during adulthood, and the risk of health complications increases too. It can seem overwhelming with all the other responsibilities we have in our lives, but we owe it to our kids -- and ourselves -- to raise healthy families.
Try just one or two of the ideas in this article -- or come up with your own! This doesn't need to be complicated, and it shouldn't seem like an impossible task. It's really about making small, simple lifestyle changes, one at a time, and sticking with them until they become a habit. By modeling a healthy lifestyle for your kids, you can help ensure that they turn into healthy adults.
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