5 things parents should keep in mind while planning healthy routine for their child- with special focus on weight

Weight has been a big issue among all age groups but especially among children. Also, if a child gains too much of weight in the early years then it’s very difficult for him/ her to reduce weight in later years.

Parents’ perception about their child’s weight status is a single most important determinant to prevent them from gaining unnecessary weight. Many studies have shown that anywhere from 30% to 89% of the parents fail to recognize their child as being overweight. Some other researchers have also shown that 81% of parents with overweight children do not express specific concern about their child’s weight. Their child’s chubby cheeks and tummy flab make them feel good, rather than taking it as a serious health issue. Elevated weight status does not appear to cause alarm or concern in parents unless their child struggles to keep up with their peers during physical activity or experiences weight based teasing or any other related health issue.

Obesity (overweight) is a silent chronic disease which advances with age and makes it even more difficult for a person to loose in later years.

Many schools have initiated school-based BMI screening programs to help increase parental awareness of their child’s BMI (the index of the amount of fat/muscle in body) status and preventive strategies to reduce the risk of obesity.
It is easy to control diet, manage weight and reverse weight gain in early years of life. Parents instead of limiting children’s food should rather focus on increasing their physical activity but most of the them try to put the children on extreme weight reduction diets, which is not required in case of children as their BMR (rate of energy expenditure) is very high as compared to adults. Parents just needs to restrict few unhealthy food items such as simple sugars, junk foods, fried foods, sodas, refined flour along with increasing children’s outdoor activities in order to maintain weight, increase concentration, improve brain development and psychological health, along with host of other health concerns. There is a clear need to find an appropriate balance between levels of concern and parenting practices which should aim at preventing childhood obesity.

5 major points to keep in mind while planning healthy routine for your child are:

  1. It is very important to keep a check on your child’s height and weight status on monthly basis. You can make a diary to note down the height and weight of your child. This will help you keep an eye on your child’s growth level which you can compare with standards for children of same age group.
  2. Keep a check on their daily sugar and salt intake. The sugar and salt should be given in restricted amounts so as to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Try to avoid simple sugars in most of the liquids served at home so that even if they take some sweets or chocolates or any sweetened drink once or twice a week it can be balanced.
  3. Never try to put your child on extreme weight reduction diet before the age of 15 years because before that is the extreme growth phase and if you force them to restrict everything completely then their growth is effected and they tend to gain more weight in later years when they get exposed to those foods.
  4. Push your child more towards outdoor games and physical activity such as swimming, cycling, running, badminton, football, basketball, cricket and many more, instead of restricting them to stay inside the house and play with their video games, mobile phone, television, or any sitting games. This will allow them to develop a good BMR level which will help to maintain good health.
  5. Try to make unhealthy food in healthy way using healthy ingredients at home only. Like burgers, patties, noodles, pizza etc. you can easily add hidden healthy ingredients. You can also cook all this using less oil and clean, hygienic way which you won’t get outside. You can try different recipes for children at home and let them have those items once or twice a week. This will help them feel mentally satisfied.

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