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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Reducing Childhood Obesity

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN)

A boy sitting in front of fruit

Resources for parents and kids to help drop pounds, eat healthier foods, and exercise more

Helping Your Overweight Child

To help parents understand how they can help their overweight children, here are tips from the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), an information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Is My Child Overweight?

Healthy eating and physical activity are key to your child's well-being. Eating too much and exercising too little may lead to overweight and related health problems that may follow children into their adult years. You can take an active role to help your child—and your whole family—learn healthy eating and physical activity habits that last a lifetime.

a boy exercising

Children grow at different rates at different times, so it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. If you think that your child is overweight, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can tell you if your child's weight and height are in a healthy range.

How Can I Help My Overweight Child?

Involve the whole family in building healthy eating and physical activity habits. This benefits everyone and does not single out the child who is overweight.

Do not put your child on a weight-loss diet unless your healthcare provider recommends one. If children do not eat enough, they may not grow and learn as well as they should.

3 Critical Keys for Helping Your Kids

  • Tell your child that he or she is loved, special, and important. Children's feelings about themselves are often based on how they think their parents feel about them.
  • Accept your child at any weight. Children are more likely to accept and feel good about themselves when their parents accept them.
  • Listen to your child's concerns about his or her weight. Overweight children probably know better than anyone else that they have a weight problem. They need support, understanding, and encouragement from parents.

Spring / Summer 2010 Issue: Volume 5 Number 2 Page 7