16 Brilliant Tips to Get Your Children in Shape!

A couch potato. Or an egg?

Childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing like crazy.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey studies the status of health and nutrition of adults and children in the United States.

Its data, compared to what it published just about 40 years ago shows that obesity rates are increasing at an alarming speed.

The childhood obesity rate has more than tripled in the last 4 decades, and teenage obesity rate has quadrupled. (1)

Data from 2015-2016 showed that nearly 1 in 5 school-age children and young people (6 to 19 years) in the United States have obesity. (2)

Risks of Childhood Obesity

First, being a little plump wouldn’t be so troubling if it wasn’t for the risks of dangerous complications that obesity brings.

But sadly, childhood obesity has been attributed to an increased risk of:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • insulin resistance
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • breast and colon cancer
  • disability
  • asthma (3) (4)

Getting diabetes and high blood pressure from age 50 is one thing, living through them from age 11 is another.

Similarly, can you imagine the amount of physical and psychological pain your child has to face while living inside an obese body? (5) (6)

Moreover, obese children are likely to remain the same throughout their later lives. (7)

Obese kids become obese adults.

Why is your role as a parent so important?

Because several studies indicate that upbringing is one of the biggest factors responsible for unhealthy fat gain among children.

Although schools may incorporate different weight loss programs, study shows that the time frame in which these programs complete is just not enough to see results. Healthy parenting is necessary. (8) (9)

Children reflect the diet and lifestyle that you follow.

Seemingly insignificant things like what you munch on during your leisure like TV time hugely impact what your child learns about eating habits.

So what can we do as a parent to ensure our beloved ones can live life to their full potential?

Below are some helpful tips that’ll ensure your child lives in his/her healthy weight. ‘Your child’ refers to your cute daughter that attends elementary school or your nasty teenage son.

1) Monitor your child’s bed time

Your child's sleep routine can affect his/her body appearance. Cure his obesity my regulating his bedtime.
Your child’s sleep routine can affect his/her body appearance.

A complete 8 hours of sleep is paramount for the proper growth, development, and functioning of your child’s body.

However, it is easy to lose precious hours of sleep in today’s technology-driven world.

Your child can develop eating disorders due to insufficient or irregular sleep patterns. (1, 2)

When your child stays till late night, his/her sugar level will drop below normal. At the same time, his/her insulin level will rise.

This is as if the fuel supply went exactly dry when demand was beginning to grow.

And what do they do when they feel hungry at night?

They feast on whatever is available in the kitchen or in the fridge; most of which will be unhealthy.

In addition to this, your child’s body will crave for calorie-dense, sugar-rich foods when extremely hungry. (because they’re sources of instant energy and fulfillment.)

And the drama isn’t over yet. The same sugary foods that your child eats will trick him/her into wanting more food. (3)

This is a vicious circle from which one can never escape without some help.

That’s where you come in. Monitor his/her bed time. ‘Light-off’ rules aren’t only meant for camping holidays!

Summary: Good sleep is necessary for your child since it is a vital indicator of health. Improper and insufficient sleep patterns can cause multiple problems, one of which is an obese body.

2) Reduce on-screen time.

Look at these silly dogs, ahh! Saving our children from excessive screen exposure is more necessary than ever.

The rise of video games and mobile devices brought obesity to America and the world.

It is easier than ever to forget that we’re living a sedentary life while in front of these gadgets.

Sedentary lifestyle, i.e. inactivity is one of the leading causes of childhood obesity. (4, 5)

If that’s the case, electronic gadgets and any kind of screen engagement are the least things you’ll want to allow your child.

Allocate a specific screen time for your child, maybe for an hour after they return home from school.

Using electronic gadgets during bedtime is the worst– never allow that.

Many parents hand smartphones or video games to their children to shut them up and prevent distractions.

If you’re one of them, something seriously has to change.

Summary: Any kind of electronic gadget is detrimental to your child’s health. Minimize screen exposure to as little as you can.

3) Start the day with a fulfilling breakfast

A healthy morning breakfast can cure childhood obesity.
Cook your child good health!

Morning shows the day, and it is very true for your child’s well-being.

A healthy, fulfilling breakfast keeps your child full for long. A rich morning meal provides him/her the essential nutrients to learn and play.

Your child can eat all those delicious, normal foods like scrambled eggs, milk and toast as long as s/he avoids the canteen crap.

Eating a fulfilling breakfast in the morning has just the right ‘ingredients’ to keep your child up and running on healthy nutrients throughout the day.

Complement with an equally healthy lunch and evening meal. Include green leafy veggies, just enough protein and a lot of fruits to your child’s tray.

Summary: A fulfilling morning breakfast can do wonders to your child’s weight loss journey. It’ll minimize cravings and hence, binge-eating on unhealthy foods.

4) Make sure your child is never hungry

Hunger entices the inner eating beast. It makes your child feast on whatever is nearby.

This tip is closely related to the previous one, except that we intended it to be much broader.

Hunger is the worst trigger of weight gain.

You should never starve your child to make him/her eat less in order to lose excess fat.

Everyone’s body has a comfort-zone weight. How fat has your child been for the majority of his/her life? That’s his/her comfort-zone weight.

The body is a stubborn machine. It’ll try hard to be in its comfort zone weight forever.

This is why your child will try to EAT UP immediately after you loosen your ‘overly-strict’ diet plan on him.

The trick isn’t to cut off foods but to remove those that add unhealthy calories.

Make sure s/he feels full of healthy foods. This will resist his/her temptation for the next ice-cream or hamburger.

There are plenty of natural foods that can make your child full early and full for long.

Summary: The trick to lose weight isn’t to starve your child’s body. Make him full early and often.

5) Take watch on what s/he eats out of home

Monitoring what your children eat helps to keep body weight in control.
Yes, be that nagging mom or dad. It pays!

The family home is the least important place to implement your save-the-child mission.

Because your little ones spend a lot of time outside the house.

Eating practices outside the home may be a determining indicator of your child’s health.

Take time to know what your child ate for lunch and tiffin at school. Take a watch of the household that your child goes to play.

With these junk foods being so cheap and convenient, the outer world is a dangerous place, especially if your child is a bit plump already.

Junkies add tons of fat and unhealthy additives to your child’s little tummy. No-no to junkies.

Summary: You have to be a strong parent and take a watch on what your child does outside. Healthy eating habits are to be followed everywhere. Make sure your child eats healthy foods outside the home too.

6) Make a healthy home atmosphere

Make sure your child feels safe and valued at home. Good physical health is only possible with a healthy mind.
Make sure your child feels safe and valued at home. Good physical health is only possible alongside a healthy mind.

Disturbing incidents in the house can put unnecessary stress on your child.

Petty disputes between members of household can have bad impacts on young kids.

You may think that they don’t feel anything because they don’t get it.

Wrong. In fact, they feel more than necessary because they don’t get it!

Several studies have shown that bitter childhood experience is linked with personality and eating disorders in later life.

On the other hand, positive parenting improves multiple aspects of health and well-being in young adulthood. (6)

Your child needs to feel safe inside your close boundaries.

Summary: Emotional well-being is important for sound health. Research shows that an abusive home environment can be a leading contributor to unhealthy body composition. Create a harmonious environment at home.

7) Encourage outdoor activities

Sports teaches good health habits, discipline and team work. Those are the things your child certainly shouldn't miss.
Sports teaches good health habits, discipline and team work. Those are the things your child certainly shouldn’t miss.

Most parents don’t let their children play outdoors for the fear of injury, infectious disease or worst-case scenario: crime.

Their activity on school is equally limited.

Researches cannot stress the importance of physical activity and exercise on growing children any further.

Exercise is directly related to the body and hence to body weight. Your child should find a way to burn all those ingested calories to stay in a state of caloric balance.

If common sense sounds stupid to you, see this research. And this.

Summary: Encourage your child to engage in outdoor physical activities like games and sports. You can’t always shield your child from the outer world and its dangers. Don’t be an overprotective parent.

8) Take special caution while you travel

Be extra protective while you travel.

Travel is when our bedtime, diet plan, (including your bowel movement) go haywire.

Your child is more inclined to ask for whatever fancy crap shows up on the way.

Resist his temptations. (and yours too?)

If you’re traveling far on a land vehicle or a plane, it’s always good to take your own food by yourself.

This is the time when your child needs to avoid sugary drinks, since they’re around a lot often.

Summary: Don’t let travel plans sabotage your family’s health. Find a way to always keep healthy habits maintained within your ‘hood’.

9) Try to move electronic gadgets from his/her room

Childhood obesity is caused by excess screen time.
Notice when to put the electronic gadgets off, and away!

Nope. TV set on my kiddo’s room? Doesn’t work for me.

Children spend an awful amount of time on electronic gadgets.

If there isn’t a checking mechanism in the house, they’re prone to ‘binge-do’ everything.

Shift all electronic gadgets in the living room.

That way, you can keep track of your child’s activity and notify him when it’s too much.

Summary: It is very difficult to resist temptations to engage in these electronic gadgets. However, you can make it easier by forbidding any kind of device in your child’s room.

10) Prevent and cure your own obesity

Obese parents tend to grow obese children.
Watch your own weight, mister.

Aow! That hurt!

But the truth doesn’t hide itself.

Have you ever noticed that your child tries to mimic everything from you? Isn’t it cute?

However, this can sometimes be problematic if you are a victim of unhealthy habits yourself.

As a matter of fact, children who grow up with heavy parents are more prone to lead an obese life according to science. (12, 13, 14, 15)

Now, although it isn’t clear whether it is because of genetics or upbringing, one thing is perfectly clear- you’ve got to correct your own transactions.

Summary: It is seen that obese children are generally from obese households. A variety of factors like eating patterns, bedtime or leisure activities can be responsible. Try correcting all the harmful lifestyle from your household. This is only possible by changing your own lifestyle.

11) Don’t shop when hungry

Eat healthy foods to prevent childhood obesity.
Be extra aware while doing shopping. You’re the one that decides whether to take disease or health into your home.

As a parent, you control what your family eats.

If you enter a grocery shop when hungry, you’re more likely to add calorie-dense and unhealthy foods to your cart. (16, 17)

The mind is the smartest thing you have. It searches for every possible way to solve problems you currently have.

This is why it thinks that adding loads of calorie-dense foods to the cart is a good way to solve this hunger for once and all.

In a way, your brain tricks you. And you feel like you’re the one taking decisions. Duh!

Thus, we suggest you have a fulfilling meal before going grocery shopping. Drink some fluid or eat an apple before getting out.

Summary: The point above is equivalent to saying that you can control your child’s weight by changing your mood. You should enter the grocery store only when feeling full in order to avoid adding unhealthy food items to your cart.

12) Reward for his/her achievement

You need to praise your obese child throughout the journey.
As a parent, praise him through his/her hard times. Spread hope and hence, love.

If you’ve put your child on a weight loss diet, reward him/her for small improvements.

Weight loss isn’t a one-time goal; it’s a change of lifestyle.

Even adults fail to stay consistent on their journey. Stay with your child while s/he transitions from one lifestyle to another.

Summary: A small word of encouragement can uplift your child. Every one of us likes to be valued and rewarded to feel a sense of accomplishment.

13) Make him/her believe that failing is a part of success

Curing obesity is a difficult journey for all. A healthy support system is important.
Even Batman failed!

It is hard for young children to face and be through high weight trauma.

Most become a victim of bullying and teasing in schools, playgrounds or any other social gatherings. (11)

As a responsible parent, your duty is to share their pain and experiences, not join the bullying team hoping that your child will improve out of embarrassment.

The journey of weight loss is a tough one even for grown-up adults.

In fact, most people spend countless years failing to see any results, just because the internet lied to them with its inaccurate advice.

Your child is going to fail too.

Many of your strategies will taste dirt, leading you and your family to bitter frustration.

Prepare your child for the worst.

Make him/her believe that failing is a part of the process. Teach them that one just doesn’t unpack and live there.

Summary: What do you do if you fail at something and fall down? You get up. That’s what your child NEEDS to know.

14) Save your child from the cunning marketing techniques

Junk foods promote obesity.
It is difficult to stay away from the clever marketing techniques and tasty temptations, even for your child.

The first goal of marketing is: I’ll showcase if it sells.

Who are the researchers that work on junk food factories?

Well-educated guys who know the perfect formula of sugar, cream and spices to keep you addicted, right?

These industries can do anything to increase their profit margin. The shopping market is a deadly place to take your child.

These marketing techniques has the biggest impact on your child’s food and taste, according to multiple pieces of research. (9)(10)

Why do you think they keep sweets and irresistible candies in the eye-level height of young kids?

Why are advertisement companies linking crappy foods to children’s favorite cartoon characters? Did you even notice?

Summary: There are so many unhealthy food items floating around, thanks to all those cunning marketing techniques. Be a shield and protect your child from anything that may affect his/her health.

15) Avoid processed sugar to all possible extent

Sweetened beverages add up to childhood obesity.

Fizzy drinks like coke and soda are accessible from anywhere.

Furthermore, aggressive marketing methods have linked these sugar-stuffed carbonated drinks with joy and happiness.

This is why it seems mandatory to include them in every major events of our lives.

There is no reason why anybody would like to drink these beverages from a nutritionist’s point of view.

And they’re even more harmful to your child or teenager. (8)

Sweetened, carbonated drinks stunt growth, erode your child’s teeth and of course; add unhealthy sugar into his diet.

Dismiss any foods that contain processed sugar. Candies, cola- everything.

Give natural fruits if your child seems to have a sweet tooth. The sugar content in any of the fruits is just not sufficient to over-consume.

Summary: Three words: Avoid processed sugar.

16) Watch your own daily routine

One of you should teach him/her to be healthy.

Most of us are working parents.

In many households, both hubby and wife have to attend their personal jobs.

Keeping track of your child’s daily activity and diet can be troublesome, if not impossible.

Most importantly, children from these households rely on convenient and affordable fast foods.

Needless to say, such foods aren’t prepared keeping your child’s health in mind.

That is one of the possible reasons why research shows that parents with longer work hours are likely to grow obese children. (7)

If you’re one of such parents having a hard time between your family’s health and work, try keeping a housemaid.

And if you already have, instruct her to cook according to your health standards.

However, keeping a maid in the house to focus on work can never substitute the quality time you spend with your little idiots.

Nevertheless, it’ll be a healthy alternative compared to serving your child whatever is handy.

Summary: Try to keep your work a second priority compared to your child’s life. One of the parents should be available to instill values, education and healthy practices on their child.

Wrapping Up

There are small changes to focus on in your child’s weight loss journey.

All of the tips mentioned above are primarily centered around a common theme:

  • Correcting your child’s diet
  • Improving physical activity
  • Avoiding/minimizing sedentary lifestyle

Children and teenagers are more susceptible to experiment with unhealthy weight-loss methods like severe dieting, overexercising or taking medication to lose weight.

These ill-suited methods can be harmful to your child, and the scars may last for a lifetime.

You should guide them, love them on their journey and be with them when they need you. Because that’s what loving parents do.

Lets summarize all the tips given above:

1) Monitor your child’s bedtime
2) Reduce on-screen time.
3) Start the day with a fulfilling breakfast
4) Make sure your child is never hungry
5) Take watch on what s/he eats out of home
6) Make a healthy home atmosphere
7) Encourage outdoor activities
8) Take special caution while you travel
9) Try to move electronic gadgets from his/her room
10) Prevent and cure your own obesity
11) Don’t shop when hungry
12) Reward for his/her achievement
13) Make him/her believe that failing is a part of the success
14) Save your child from the cunning marketing techniques
15) Avoid processed sugar to all possible extent
16) Watch your own daily routine