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Obesity Prevention

Many studies support the concept that childhood obesity often leads to obesity and its medical complications in adulthood. Because of that, we are doing all we can do to reduce and prevent the tendency of our pediatric patients to become overweight or obese.

Being overweight is not an inherited trait. Prevention of obesity depends to a great extent on the family’s commitment to a lifestyle that supports healthy eating and plenty of exercise.

Studies have shown that children who skip breakfast may take in excessive calories later in the day, leading to excessive weight gain. In addition, a healthy breakfast may jump-start the child’s metabolism for the day, resulting in more energy and more alertness at school. So first of all, help your child have a healthy low fat breakfast each day. Fruit and whole grains should be encouraged.

Limiting juices or other sweet drinks will encourage your child to develop an appetite for a healthy and more varied diet.

A diet that is high in fiber is more likely to make a child feel full and satisfied after eating a smaller quantity. Children who regularly consume lots of fruits and veggies are much less likely to fill up on the high calorie/high fat foods. Beans and greens should be a large part of a healthy diet since they are high in fiber and nutrients without being high in calories and fat. Meats should be the smallest part of the diet. Fish provide beneficial nutrients and could replace meats in some meals. Broil, grill or roast meats rather than frying or sautéing them.

When trying to maintain or achieve a healthy weight, it is important to consider portion size. Remember that the adult portion size is different from the child’s portion size. Do not coax or insist that a child finish everything on his plate. In fact, teach your child to stop eating when he feels full. If you have cooked extra, put it away rather than putting it on the table where it might encourage your child to take second helpings when he does not really need them.

When trying to help your child maintain a healthy weight, do not underestimate the importance of regular exercise. Please look forward to part two of this important topic later this month.

This article was written by:
Dr. Patricia Nevius,
on behalf of  P.A.M.P.A

© 2011 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
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