Restricting ‘calories’ in children’s diets can lead to ‘stunted growth’, ‘adversely affect bone density’, and even lead to ‘eating disorders’. ‘Intervention Strategies’-should involve the family and focus on permanent lifestyle changes under the supervision of a primary care physician or a registered dietitian. Parents can begin by limiting dinning out to special occasions and by making time to enjoy regular meals at home together as a family. Parents should also know that setting guidelines and monitoring a child’s diet can provide structure and the experts say that the line between being watchful and policing is thin. They should encourage their children to have just one treat a day, whether that’s a soda (coke/minerals) or cupcake and gently reinforce the rule when they can. They should stock the house with healthy choices and make them visible , which may seem intuitive but an often overlooked step. For instance, placing carrots and dip and a fruit basket on the counter to steer them toward nutritious snacks while cooking dinner. Educating the kids in school through the meals that are provided as school dinners -the practice in every school district across America now- which teaches them about healthy fare- the proper ratio of nutrients and how to create balanced meals with the best ingredients available.
- Respecting the likes and dislikes of your children.
- Appealing to their interests.
- Talking about nutrition at the dinner table and inquiring about their school dinners and what they like about them.
- Being mindful of hidden calories.
- Parents should also oversee, monitor and supervise the time they spend engrossed in sedentary activities such as playing video games and using the computer PC at home, at the mall and at their friend’s homes in liaison with other parents. The whole family should be encouraged to participate in 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous activity each day. To be successful, the entire family must be willing and ready to institute the many gradual, permanent changes needed.
- Pharmacological and surgical treatments are associated with long-term risks and serious complications, and they constitute, at best, a last resort for severely ‘overweight’ adolescents. Prolonged weight maintenance is recommended for many ‘overweight’ children and allows a gradual decline in BMI (Body Mass Index) as the child grows in height. However, if medical complications related to ‘obesity’ already exist (sleep apnea, hypertension, dyslipidemia and orthopedic problems) weight loss of approximately one pound per month is recommended.
- A combination of dieting and exercise (when you stick to it) appears to work better than either one alone. Sticking to a weight reduction program is difficult and requires a lot of support from family and friends.
- When ‘dieting’ -your main goal should be to learn new, healthy ways of ating and make them a part of your everyday routine. Work with your doctor and nutritionist to set realistic, safe daily calorie counts that assure both weight loss and good nutrition. Remember that if you drop pounds slowly and steadily, you’re more likely to keep them off. Your nutritionist and ‘Healthy Living- A Healthier You!’ -can teach you about healthy food choices, appropriate portion sizes, and new ways to prepare food.
- Even modest weight loss can improve your health. Most people can lose weight by eating a ‘healthier diet’, exercising more, and adopting new behaviors such as ‘keeping a food diary’, ‘avoiding food triggers’, and thinking positively. The decision to keep fit requires a lifelong commitment of time and effort. Patience is essential. Several simple behavioral changes can have an impact on your weight-loss success.-Eat only at the table. No snacking in front of the TV, in bed, while driving, or while standing in front of the open refrigerator.
- Learn about appropriate portion sizes.
- Choose low-calorie snacks, such as raw vegetables.
- Consider learning meditation or yoga as a way of managing stress, rather than snacking.
- Find ways to socialize (even when you are in a strange place away from home or abroad on business or holidays), and enjoy your friends and family that don’t involve a meal or dessert.
- Consider keeping a diet and exercise journal. This may help you identify ‘overeating’ triggers in your life.
- Find a support group or consider psychotherapy to help support you in the difficult but worthy goal of weight loss.
- Exercise is a major mood lifter, a great way to burn energy, and a way to strengthen your bones. Exercise can also help you manage high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
- Avoid a sedentary lifestyle by increasing your activity level: secretaries, office workers, middle and top management etc.
- Perform aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
- Increase your physical activity by walking, rather than driving.
- Climb stairs instead of using the elevator or escalator.
Always talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Anthony Joda- Author: Healthy Living- A Healthier You!- Editor: Healthy Living Magazine: Merit Publications 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 600 Washington DC 20036 USA