Now let’s say you have identified your child as being overweight or at risk for being overweight. Maybe your child’s doctor has started to notice a recent trend of increasing BMI.
First, check with your health care professional to make sure that there may not be a medical cause for weight gain. Occasionally, hormone disorders like hypothyroidism, may cause subtle weight gain without the child appearing ill. Once you are comfortable with a medical examination, think about changes in eating habits or caretakers that may be contributing to weight gain. Sometimes a change in the child’s lifestyle can be identified as a contributor to overeating or just eating more unhealthy food choices.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is there a daycare provider, nanny, or relative that allows constant snacking or frequent, unhealthy snack choices?
- Have family activities or busy schedules allowed more fast food to creep into the family menu?
- Has there been environmental changes that don’t allow exercise – new neighborhood without playmates or the convenience of outdoor areas to play, family stress, more sedentary activities around like Nintendo, Game Boy, computers, TV in the bedroom of the child, off season for your child’s usual sport activity?
- Does your child have a physical problem that may limit activity, like asthma, orthopedic problem?
- Is your child receiving empty calorie food choice (candy, snack food, juice or soda)?
- Are portion sizes reasonable for your child?
- Are other family members also struggling with weight issues or more recent weight gain because of family lifestyle and eating habits?
Sometimes, in examining these questions honestly, we can identify risk factors or changes in our lifestyle that may be contributing to our child’s weight gain.