Overeating and under-exercising are habits that children pick up early in life. With each passing year they are more difficult to change. The easiest years for helping a child maintain a healthy weight are during the first 5 years, because you have almost complete control over his diet.
- First: Keep snacks to 2 per day and serve low- calorie snacks such as fruits, grains or diet soft drinks.
- Second: Protect your child against the harmful American habit of grazing or eating anytime we feel like it. Vending machine and candy displays are everywhere in our society and it's your job to teach your child to pass them by.
- Third: Change your child to 2% milk. Serve as few fatty foods as possible and be sure to trim the fats off meats.
- Fourth: Help your youngster enjoy an active lifestyle. Take lots of walks. Get him involved in a different sport each season.
In summary, it's up to you to help your child establish healthy eating and exercise habits before he enters school. This is the best protection you can give him against future excessive weight gain.
If you have other questions about your child's weight, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.