This morning, a 12year old boy told me to blame his mom for his weight problem. Having to wear clothes that are almost the same size with his father’s was the breaking point for his mother who brought him to our weight management clinic. He blamed his mother for always making him finish everything on his plate and rewarding him with chocolates. According to him, his nick name –Biggy originated from his mum, and for him to keep up with the name he would just eat and eat to stay big.
Poor woman, I could tell the pain in her tears while her massive son talked. Who wouldn’t say that she is a good mother and that she loves her child? The pediatrician had examined him and told her that the reason for her son’s weight problem was lifestyle and poor dietary habit. There is hope for this massive talking 12 year old, but can some one tell him to shut up so that mummy can hold back the tears? (I thought)
OK. I know that there are many parents who are doing the same things that this mother is being blamed for. Perhaps your own child is not obese yet or may never be, here is my candid advice.
1. Avoid using food as a reward. Chocolates, candies, ice cream and some pastries are usually used to reward children. They basically become more desirable than other foods
2. Encourage your child to eat breakfast regularly. Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer than people who skip breakfast.
3. Do not force your child to eat everything on his or her plate. Remember, tinny tummies hold little food. It is better to give them little meals at regular intervals.
4. Get your children involved in meal preparation. Allow them to join you in preparing healthy meals, they are more likely to eat something they made or participated in making.
5. Children do not focus on health as a priority, talk to your child about the benefits of eating well and taking care of their bodies.
6. Model the right behaviour. Do not expect your child to eat vegetables when you don’t. If your child is gaining too much weight, it is unlikely that the rest of the family is having a healthy diet. Take a look at what the whole family is eating and encourage a healthy balanced diet for everyone. This means
- Eating breakfast regularly
- Eating fewer fatty foods such as French fries and other fried foods
- Cutting down on sweets, cakes and other carbonated drinks
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Selecting wholegrain varieties often.
7. Finally, remember that sometimes to say No to your child is a show of love.
Having any challenge in your child’s nutrition?
What else can parents do to help an obese child?
Please share in the comment area below.