How can children lose weight?

How can children lose weight?

published on November 29, 2021

If your child is overweight, you probably want to help them get healthy. But sometimes that means ignoring popular diet advice. Because what works for adults is often not the best for children.

Children have their own nutritional needs for healthy growth and development. What is the best way to help a child lose weight? Work with experts or your pediatrician to ensure your child is losing weight safely. Of course, but you too can use simple measures to help your child – and the whole family – lead a healthier, fitter lifestyle.

FAQ - How can children lose weight?

Many younger children and teenagers shouldn't actually lose weight yet. As they are still growing, they may need to maintain their weight or gain weight more slowly. Older teens may be able to easily lose half a pound to two pounds a week. Your pediatrician can tell you with certainty if you want your child to lose weight and what weight you should aim for.
Furthermore, you should not arbitrarily eliminate calories from your child's diet as they provide energy and have other important health benefits. You should know how many calories your child needs for proper growth. Anything beyond that hampers weight loss. The amount of calories a child needs varies by age, gender, BMI, activity level, etc. Don't stress your child out with daily weight checks at home, daily variations are natural.

Your first impulse might be to put your child on a diet. But unless your pediatrician recommends it, avoid these types of calorie-saving plans. Dieting - designed to help your child lose weight - can prevent your child from getting the nutrients, vitamins, and calories they need to grow healthily.
Furthermore, your child may believe that certain things are "bad" or "taboo." This mistaken education can negatively change the attitude towards food in the long term.

Furthermore, medications and dietary supplements (designed for adults) are also not a good idea. As already mentioned, your child needs nutrients and vitamins for growth.
Instead of singleing out your child, talk to the whole family about how you want to work together to make healthy changes for everyone. It's also important that you, the parents, get involved.
Children learn their habits from their parents. It is therefore important to set a good example. One study even showed that children lose weight much faster and healthier if their parents lose weight too.
Please do not try to change your family's diet all at once. Instead, try making a few changes at a time. Small, manageable tweaks are more likely to last a lifetime.

Start with one or two of these habits each week:

  • Swap out your child's sugar-sweetened drinks, like juice and sodas, for water or low-fat or non-fat milk.

  • Make sure your child has a healthy breakfast. A morning meal with whole grains and protein, such as whole grain toast, helps the child feel full. This way you avoid the feeling of hunger and your child will not eat too much unhealthy food during the day.

  • Swap light grains like white bread and white rice for whole grains like whole wheat bread and brown or wild rice. Also try new products like quinoa or farro.

  • Try not to eat out at restaurants or fast food outlets more than once a week.

  • Buy more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy snacks and less chips, cookies, and candy. If these high-calorie foods aren't around, your kids won't be able to eat them. And while you shouldn't ban sweets outright, eating them in moderation will help your child.

  • Keep track of your child's portion sizes. Big plates and glasses encourage you to eat more. Therefore, also consider whether you can reduce the size of your dishes.
Getting together as a family (rather than in front of the TV) has been shown to encourage healthier habits. One study showed that children who shared three or more meals a week with their family were 20% less likely to eat unhealthy food and 12% less likely to be overweight.
That's why we recommend planning a couple of family breakfasts, lunches, or dinners at the beginning of each week. It is also ideal if you involve everyone in the planning and preparation of meals. Also, avoid long breaks between meals, as an empty stomach for hours will lead to binge eating during meals. Studies suggest that three small meals and two small snacks daily are ideal.
The ability of carbohydrates to raise blood sugar is known as the GI (glycemic index). Studies suggest that foods with a low glycemic index keep you fuller longer because they take time to digest or are digested slowly and blood sugar also stays stable. These foods also have more fiber.

You don't have to eliminate carbohydrates from your child's diet entirely. All you can do is choose low or medium glycemic index carbs like broccoli, carrots, apples, berries, beans, nuts, peanut butter, honey fruit yogurt, milk, cheese, pineapple, yams, bananas, dried fruit, pasta . Avoid high-glycemic carbohydrates such as corn, potatoes, white rice, french fries, french fries, juice, jam, sweet and frozen yogurt, bread, pancakes, waffles, pizza, popcorn, and instant oatmeal.
Fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories and high in nutrients. Children need 1 to 3 servings of vegetables and 1 to 2 servings of fruit daily. If that seems like too much for you, try the following:

  • Let your child choose their favorite flavors themselves in the supermarket, then they will eat them.

  • Mix up a fresh fruit smoothie for breakfast or as a snack.

  • Serve fruit or vegetables with every meal or snack:
    Cover cereal with berries, combine a sandwich with a side salad, offer the child greens between meals.

  • Use vegetables more frequently in place of meat in kid-friendly dishes like chili con carne, lasagna, and spaghetti.
Serve whole fruit instead of fruit juice. Juices have less fiber compared to whole fruits. Furthermore, sugar is often added, which of course leads to more calories. Whole fruits are more filling and higher in fiber and are also good for digestion. However, not all fruits and vegetables are good for weight loss. Some may be high glycemic, which we outlined in." "6. Cut Carbs
Don't allow the child to uncontrollably drink juice, energy drinks, and cold soft drinks (such as cola or soda) when thirsty. These drinks are often high in sugar and stimulate appetite, which increases weight gain. The best thirst quencher is water.
Cut down on foods high in sugar such as candy, sweetened breakfast cereals, flavored drinks and yogurt, sweetened drinks, fruit juices, sodas, etc.
Instead, give your child low-sugar substitutes such as homemade fruit puree, sherbet, cookies, pizza, whole grain sandwiches, fruit salads, etc.
Salt should also be minimized. The sodium content of salt causes the body to retain water and bloat. Avoid table salt and canned and frozen foods, which are high in sodium.
Studies show that protein stimulates a growth hormone that helps the body convert excess fat into energy. It's also more filling. Therefore, serve eggs, plant-based proteins – such as legumes, fish and lean meats such as chicken.
Healthy fats are needed by the body to build cell membranes. Removing fat indiscriminately can affect your child's immune system, nervous system, and overall health. Children need to consume fats such as unsaturated oils (olive, canola, soybeans, etc.), salmon, anchovies, almonds, sesame, pumpkin, and flax seeds, etc.
Healthy fats also slow digestion and keep your stomach full for longer, reducing hunger pangs.
Experts say children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. If your child isn't active yet (and obesity often is), you can help them achieve this goal:

  • Make exercise a family outing. Go for walks, hikes or bike rides together.

  • Help your child find an activity they enjoy, whether it's soccer, swimming, dancing, or just running around the playground.

  • Encourage your child to spend a lot of time outside instead of in front of the TV or computer.
Start with 15-20 minutes daily and gradually increase the duration. Make it fun by involving your child's peers or by organizing dance and music lessons, walking a dog, a family swimming lesson, etc. This will encourage your child to participate enthusiastically.
Ideally, children need 9 to 11 hours of sleep and teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Early and good sleep is essential for proper growth and metabolism that helps maintain body weight.

If you can gradually implement these changes and your child is still not losing weight after a few months, you may want to speak to a doctor who specializes in weight loss for children.

Please always approach the topic of losing weight carefully and sensitively. It can be seen that many children, especially girls, are trying to experiment with weight loss on their own. This could be unscientific and harmful.
As I'm sure you know, weight problems in children are a concern around the world. Obesity has led to an increase in diabetes, cholesterol, osteoporosis, fatty liver, asthma, heart disease, etc. in children. These diseases, which usually appear in adulthood, now appear in childhood. Furthermore, overweight children are also more prone to bullying, body image anxiety, insecurities and depression.

So the question often arises:
How can children lose weight?
Just like adults, losing weight in children should be done with care and caution. It often makes sense - together with an expert - to create a safe and sensitive weight loss plan. Studies show that improper diets can affect a child's nutrition, growth and stress. What works for adults may not work for kids trying to lose weight because their bodies are still developing.
When should kids lose weight?
How to recognize weight problems in children
Of course, you often recognize obesity at first glance. However, to be sure whether your child should lose weight, you can check the child's body mass index (BMI), which takes weight, height, gender and age into account.
On the homepage of the paediatrician you can quickly calculate whether your child is overweight and whether your child should lose weight:
to the BMI calculator for children and adolescents

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