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Helping Your Obese Child Lose Weight

Aug 17, 2007
There are a lot of stories in the news these days about children who are overweight. In fact, I have seen pictures of young children who weight as much as a full grown adult. These children are truly obese.

Obese children can have many of the same health risks as adults, running from diabetes to heart problems. They are more likely to have even more health problems when they become adults.

There are many factors that lead to today's prevalence for obesity in children:

1. First of all, children are not as physically active as they were just a decade ago. You are more likely to find them sitting at the computer or playing Playstation than running or swimming.

2. Families are eating at restaurants more. Since most Moms are working outside the home, it's just easier for them to pick up some Kentucky Fried chicken than to cook a healthy meal.

3. Children are eating snacks that are higher in fat and refined sugar. These snacks are even available from vending machines at their schools, although some schools are finally adding fresh fruit and vegetables to their machines.

Children and teenagers are heavier than they were two decades ago. But, how do you know if they're heading toward obesity? Obesity is not measured the same for kids as it is for adults. Periods of growth and their different metabolic rates make it difficult to get a precise measurement using the normal BMI (Body Mass Index) method. The BMI for children needs to be used in combination with their age and gender for better accuracy.

Obesity is also measured differently according to a child's gender. Boys are considered to be obese when his body fat is 25% or more of his total body weight. A girl is considered to be obese when her body fat is at 27% of her total body weight. Girls and women normally have a higher percentage of body fat than boys and men. Normal body fat for a male is about 15% and at 27% for a female.

The same rules apply to children who are trying to lose weight as to adults: eat less and exercise more.

If you feel that your child weighs more than he or she should, a trip to the pediatrician is in order. The doctor can help you set up a safe diet and exercise program for your child. Here are a few other things that you can do:

1. Plan family activities such as hiking, camping or swimming that will get your child more physically active.

2. Cook more healthy meals instead of brining home fast food for dinner.

3. Remove potato chips and candy from your home and replace them with vegetables and fruit.

Get your overweight child help as soon as possible to prevent long term health problems.
About the Author
Jude Wright is dedicated to helping people become fit and healthy. Get her free report, Lose Weight Without Starving Yourself, at 9WeeksToWeightLoss.com
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