I have a lot of concerned parents that approach me with this statement: “My kid is getting a little chubby. What do I do? Can you help?!”
It is no secret that childhood obesity is on the rise and it has been projected in some reports that we are living in a day and time where parents can outlive their children. So what’s the problem? There can be multiple factors but I have two personal theories.
- With the rise of the working woman, it allows very little time for preparation and fast food is easy. Honestly, fast food scares me. You have no idea what is in that food.
- Lack of physical activity with the rise of social media and technology. Every kid I see has a phone in their hand. That’s ridiculous. What does a child need a phone for? Take it out of their hands, unplug the video games and make them go ride a bike!
There are multiple factors contributing but that’s my two cents.
So the question is, “As a parent, what can I do?”
- Realize that small children can internally regulate their appetite. As adults, we do not. We eat for pleasure and they eat for survival. Take note, this is not always the case. I deal with many small children with food aversions, sensory issues and feeding difficulties. For a typically developing child, I often tell parents that if you do your part, the child will do theirs. It is ok and common that a child may barely eat for two days and then eat like a tyrannosaurus on the third day.
- Responsibility of the parent. This one may hurt a little, folks. What example are you setting for your child? Are you providing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein? Or is your pantry stocked with sodas, sugary juices, cookies, chips, and candy? Are you driving through the fast food joint 3-5 nights a week? It is your responsibility to provide healthy foods. Your child is going to eat like you do. But you say, “Katie, they won’t eat healthy foods!” I cannot accept that excuse because guess what? It takes a child 10 exposures to a food before they decide if they like it or not. C’mon, I just started eating tomatoes 5 years ago!
- Do not put your child on a diet and say that your child is on a diet. That is a body image issue waiting to happen. Make healthy choices and encourage more physical activity. As a child grows, it’s difficult to encourage weight loss because children need to grow. Body image issues can start at a very young age so positive encouragement and being responsible in what you provide will have a long term effect.
Need help in the home? Contact me for a re-vamp of your family’s diet. You owe it to yourself and your child to fight these issues now instead of later.