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When should a parent become concerned about a child's weight?
I think parents should be concerned about their child when they go to the doctor, and their weight is disproportionate to their height. I think if you’re child is a lot bigger than their peers, a parent really should be concerned.
What is key to helping your child have a healthy diet?
It’s the parent’s responsibility to provide healthy food into the household. Parents really need to have healthy lifestyles themselves. Otherwise, if the parent is telling the child, well you’ve got to eat this, and you’ve got to do that exercise, and they’re not doing it, that’s not really fair to the child.
What else can parents do to build healthy eating habits?
Just be aware of bringing in more healthy foods into the household, lots of fruits and vegetables, getting kids involved in making their food and selecting it, so they’re involved in the preparation of food.
What are some bad habits for parents to break?
Going to Costco and getting those huge bags of chips and leaving them open is an invitation for almost anybody to overeat. Going to fast foods and not setting limits on the kind of foods that child has is an invitation to overeat.
Going out to a sit-down place where they serve these enormous entrées that are more calories than most adults need and letting your child have all of that without setting limits on the food that’s being served is an invitation to overeat.
Is breakfast still the most important meal of the day?
One thing I think is really important is making sure that your kid gets breakfast. I am just amazed that people send their kids out without breakfast and you see these kids stopping and getting a Ding Dong and a coke for breakfast.
How does sleep factor into a child's health?
Sleep is really important. A lot of kids are staying up really late and Mom and Dad need to make sure that kids are getting about eight hours of sleep. There’s a lot of research out there that says that people who are sleep deprived tend to be more overweight.
How much cardiovascular exercise should children typically get?
Make sure that your child is involved in physical activity for at least an hour a day so that may mean going out with your kid for a while and doing that or saying okay, this semester, what do you want to do? Do you want to join a sport? Lots of times, kids who are really heavy don’t want to join sports. They may do better at individual activities like martial arts class, or swimming, but everybody needs to be involved in some activity, every semester and over the summer.
What other advice can you offer parents of overweight children?
I’d really be sure that I just knew what my child was thinking and feeling and help that child express their anger, their sadness, the things they’re afraid about, the things they might feel guilty about so I can help them move through that and not take care of it by giving them a cookie to feel better.
It’s harder to get rid of weight than it is to not have it in the first place.
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