So maybe you've heard about this whole childhood obesity epidemic. I kid -- a little attempt at levity. Because really, how could you not have? Lately, especially, it seems the news about how heavy and unhealthy kids are these days has been coming at us in one long, loud, continual stream. And no one seems to have The Answer for how to combat it. Think of the recent flack that the anti-obesity campaign in Atlanta got.
The idea was to shock parents into action, yet many felt that the harsh ads and billboards --depicting miserable-looking overweight kids -- only underscored the message to children that: You're fat, which makes you unacceptable. Not what a kid's self-esteem needs. And if a new government-sponsored study is any indication, the other avenues we've tried haven't worked, either. The researchers found that one in six kids and teens are now obese -- and that this rate has not budged from the year prior. (Good that it hasn't gone up!)
But what else, as parents, can we do to help our kids maintain a healthy weight -- to not become a statistic? I have a few ideas:
- Don't focus on lowering your child's weight (even if she or he needs to lose weight). Doctors who specialize in obesity in children say the best scenario is to let kids "grow into their weight" instead of dropping it. Unlike adults, they get taller every day. And if they can manage to stay at the same weight while they're growing, they will automatically trim down with time--without the shame and pressure of being put on a diet.