Overweight children often suffer socially and have a greater risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
You can help your children avoid weight problems by following these guidelines:
- Never put your children on low-calorie deprivation diets. By restricting calories, you can stunt their growth. Rather lower your child's fat intake, but maintain calories by increasing carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, and pasta, and by including dairy products in their diet.
- Remove temptations that may lie around the house. Don't leave puddings, sweets or cookie jars on coffee tables or kitchen counters.
- Don't use desserts and sweets as rewards.
- Have family meals. Set a good example by eating a wide variety of foods. Teach your child to eat slowly.
- Make mealtime pleasant. Don't use this time for criticising or scolding your child.
- Build your child's self-esteem: listen to her and show her that you love and accept her, regardless of her weight.
- (The Heart and Stroke Foundation/Health24, updated May 2010)