If there are no complications of obesity in children, the first goal should be to maintain the current weight, and this is a very easy and achievable goal with healthy eating habits and regular physical activity. Studies show that dieting children are at higher risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, and have a higher body mass index in young adulthood. However, the approach that comes with the diet to classify foods as “good” and “bad” is not suitable for children.
Pressure on children to eat foods classified as “good” is associated with a decrease in liking and consuming these foods. Pressure not to eat foods classified as “bad” makes these foods more appealing, increases their consumption, and may even push children to eat them secretly.
In addition, diets that are not under the control of a specialist and may cause malnutrition may adversely affect the growth and development of children, so if a diet with calorie restriction is to be applied, it must be done under the control of a specialist.
Direct your children to a sport they can enjoy.
Situations caused by city life and technology, such as the lack of space for children to move freely, the loss of the habit of walking from one place to another with the increase in transportation opportunities, and spending too much time with technological devices such as television, tablet and computer push children to a sedentary life. Directing your child to a sport that he or she can enjoy will be one of the most effective steps you can take in the fight against obesity. However, while doing this, you should give the message that sports are not made for the purpose of “losing weight”, but for “having a quality and enjoyable time”.
Golden rule: Healthy plates
You can create an adequate and balanced diet by following the rules of healthy plate model at meals. Half of your child’s plate is salad, vegetables such as green beans, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage; protein sources such as meat, chicken, turkey, fish, cheese, eggs; and healthy carbohydrate sources such as legumes, whole grain bread and bulgur should make up one fourth of them. Add fruit and dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, kefir, ayran to these plates or to snacks, and finally, choose healthy cooking methods such as grilling, steaming, boiling or baking instead of frying. That’s how simple it is to create an adequate and balanced diet.
Beware of unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks!
In many studies, a relationship has been found between the consumption of beverages containing high sugar and calories, such as ready-made fruit juices, cola, soda, and instant chocolate milk, and childhood obesity. You can choose not to buy these drinks without forbidding your child, and you can be a good role model for your child by consuming them yourself, by replacing them with healthy drinks such as water, ayran and milk. However, due to the advertisements, attractive packaging, additives used, and the perception of taste created by foods containing high amounts of sugar and fat, a large portion of children frequently consume processed foods such as chips, crackers and cakes. Again, instead of completely banning these unhealthy snacks, you can offer a better alternative by making your own healthy snacks at home and involving your child in this preparation phase.