As thousands of children leave primary school obese - here's how to help your child to be healthy

29th May 18 | Family

If your child is overweight, there's lots you can do to help them reach a healthier weight.

Rates of obesity in children in the UK are on the rise. New figures have found that the number of 10 and 11-year-olds classed as severely obese in the final year of primary school, is nearly double that of those in reception.

Figures from the Local Government Association reveal that more than 22,000 out of 556,000 of children in year 6 are classed as severely obese, nearly twice that of the nearly 15,000 out of 629,000 four and five year-olds classed as severely obese.

The LGA say the figures reveal that children are gaining weight at a drastic rate as they go through school.

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Childhood is an important time for developing healthy patterns for life and prevent later weight problems, and parents wondering how to help their child should know there is no quick or easy solution to losing weight.

Encouraging your child to make healthy choices requires patience and practice, as well as commitment from both sides. Here are a few lifestyle tips for parents that can help them help their child reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Make exercise fun

Exercise is essential to any long-term weight loss plan. Start with small and realistic goals, working up to the 60 minutes of exercise which the NHS advises children aged 5-18 need per day to stay healthy. From scavenger hunts and bike rides to skipping and swimming, there are plenty of different activities and pursuits you can organise to keep little ones interested. Making exercise fun and engaging, and including lots of variety, will help to instill lifelong patterns.

Join them on the journey

One of the best ways to encourage your child to adopt healthier habits, is to lead by example and do so yourself. If you’ve banned snacking in the house, be a good role model and avoid munching on crisps and chocolate too. Instead of watching the TV at the weekend, take the initiative to organise outdoor activities you can enjoy together.

Don’t use food as a reward

 

A few healthy options for your weekend! 😋

A post shared by Paula Norris, Dietitian 🇦🇺 (@movingdietitian) on

Food given as a reward can lead to an unhealthy emotional connection between eating certain foods and feeling good, particularly if you are praising good behaviour with unhealthy, low-nutrient foods. Instead, introduce a sticker reward chart and reward long-term good behaviour with outdoor activity experiences or sports equipment.

Reduce temptations

It will be much harder for your child to lose weight if their favourite unhealthy snack foods are still lurking in your kitchen cupboards. Reduce temptation by replacing crisps and chocolate with fruits and vegetables. Make sure your child is eating three nutritious meals a day, along with two small and healthy snacks, so they don’t go for long periods of time feeling hungry.

Be supportive

Finally, it’s imperative that any lifestyle changes are adopted by the whole family as a way of showing your children that being active is fun and that eating healthily isn’t a chore or a punishment.



© Press Association 2018

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