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Every parent wants their child to be healthy. So, if your child is overweight, it can be frustrating if he or she, with your help, is trying to lose weight and the scale isn't budging. It can also be concerning, of course, given what is known about the health risks of obesity in children. Knowing more about common setbacks and ways to help your child be successful can go a long way.

It's also important that you work with your child's pediatrician to determine a proper weight loss goal.

Weight Watchers for Kids: What a New App Means for Health - The Atlantic

Because children grow at different rates, it is not always easy to figure out whether a child is overweight or at a healthy weight on your own. Every weight loss plan should start with understanding the reasons for weight gain.

Healthy Eating - Portion Control

There are two simple explanations for the rise in childhood obesity —too many calories and too little physical activity. More specifically, many children for whom a health concern is not the underlying reason gain weight because of:. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC , the percentage of youth affected by obesity has tripled since the s. Thinking about some of the reasons why kids become overweight, it would seem like it should be easy to lose weight—just eat less and exercise more. Of course, losing weight isn't always easy, and kids often face struggles and setbacks, just as adults do.

Many times, they are due to the following. Not setting realistic weight loss goals is a common issue. For example, a good first goal is to simply stop gaining weight or even to stop gaining weight so quickly, rather than to lose. If your child meets that goal after a few months, you can then modify his diet and activity level and work toward a goal of shedding pounds. One of the biggest weight loss setbacks is giving up because of doing too much at once.


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For example, a parent may switch a child from whole to skim milk, cut out all soda and fruit juice, and not allow any junk food or unhealthy snacks in the house. At the same time, they may have signed their child up for a sport or started taking the child to a personal trainer. This may be the same child who was spending a lot time watching television and playing video games previously. This kind of extreme scenario is almost always going to fail.

Setbacks and what to do about them

It is often recommended that parents go slowly, starting with small changes and working up from there. Not incorporating increased exercise at least an hour of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity each day and more vigorous intensity physical activities at least three days a week into a child's plan to get to a healthier weight can hamper progress. A child may have to start with just 15 to 20 minutes a day and slowly work up to an hour a day. Kids who have passed their time watching TV, playing video games, or engaging in other sedentary activities will need to be exposed to and encouraged to engage in new activities for entertainment.

Cutting out these old favorites may be a solution, but many parents may find putting time limits on them is best. Parents and kids have to make a conscious decision to cut back on portions and to choose certain foods in order to break out of typical eating habits. Many kids, for example, may default to an extra-large after-school snack out of habit or going for seconds at dinner because they always have. Kids should shoot for five or more fruits and vegetables every day, which may require some advance planning.

How should you talk to your child about weight loss?

It's important to eat throughout the day to maintain energy and keep one's metabolism up. Because of this, skipping meals, especially breakfast, instead of working to limit over-sized portion sizes or eating three meals a day can backfire. Work to help your child concentrate on making healthy choices, not just trying to limit calories. Perhaps the hardest part of losing weight for kids and adults is not getting motivated to make the changes they need to make. Involving your child in the process, educating him or her about the reasons for the effort, and rewarding progress can help.

Getting family members involved with diet and exercise habit changes can also go a long way, as children often follow the examples they see. Even if they think they are doing all the right things, it is possible they just need to do a little more. But once a child starts to lose weight and fails, or continues to gain more weight, this will often be the time a parent suspects their child has a hormonal problem.

Tips for Parents–Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight

If your child just can't lose weight despite numerous healthy approaches, it might be time to talk to your family's pediatrician again. Your pediatrician can evaluate your child for medical conditions that can cause weight gain, including Cushing's syndrome and hypothyroidism.

If there are no specific health conditions affecting your child's weight, or if lifestyle is compounding such an issue, the following may be suggested. Adolescent weight management programs, usually offered at local hospitals, encourage a lifelong commitment to eating well, exercising, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through adulthood.

Programs include counseling sessions and education for the child and his or her family. The type of program created depends on the child's age and health.

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Weight Loss Help for Kids Who Aren't Losing Weight

This diet requires a super-high intake of fat and extremely low intake of carbs. It promises fast weight loss, which may make sense for adults who are well beyond puberty. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. But what about growing kids and teens? With childhood obesity at an all-time high, some parents may be asking themselves if keto is the answer to help their kids. But is keto safe for kids?

The keto diet removes three of the five food groups that have essential vitamins and minerals kids need for growth. They might experience:. But this should be prescribed and carefully monitored by a healthcare professional.