Childhood obesity treatments are primarily twofold: being active and eating healthy meals and snacks. Sedentary activities, such as playing console games or surfing the Internet, are often replaced with equally fun but more active leisure activities to help the child reach a normal weight and maintain it. For example, engaging a child in a new sport that he or she likes, such as swimming, geo-caching, or soccer, is generally a good start. It may also be necessary to ensure his or her school breakfasts and lunches are nutritious and, if not, pack the child a healthier meal at home. There are usually no legal diet drugs to give children under 16, so childhood obesity treatments tend to rely on hard work and dedication from both the child and parent.
Frequent consumption of fast food, soda, and other sugary drinks can increase the likelihood of childhood obesity, and can continue to add to a child’s weight after he or she has reached the point of obesity. Eating healthily generally means eating less fast food and take-out or at least making smart, informed choices when choosing from a restaurant menu. For quick meals, parents can cook and freeze large batches of healthy food to pull out whenever needed, or keep the ingredients for easy meals on-hand. Small but healthy snacks can be kept around the kitchen to give out during longer-than-usual meal preparations.
Whether 10 or 20 years old, being active is an important aspect of staying healthy. Watching television, playing games on the Internet, and even doing schoolwork are usually activities that do not require much movement. Playing on a beach, playing tag with friends, and participating in an indoor console game that requires a lot of movement are essentially childhood obesity treatments. Parents can help by finding a sport or other activity their child likes and supporting their child in it. Ways to be supportive include making arrangements for transportation, buying necessary supplies, and encouraging the child.
Childhood obesity treatments work best when parents follow their own rules rather than insisting only the child lead a healthier life. Children are often led by example, and a parent leading an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle contradicts the message a child needs to overcome his or her obesity. In addition, a child may feel that his or her special diet and new sport are a form of punishment if no one else participates. Siblings and anyone else who lives in the home should also be encouraged to participate for the same reasons.