5 Tips on How to Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy Weight

As your child grows, they get taller and gain weight on the way to developing an adult body. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a growing child and a child who’s overweight.

Pediatric care professionals Rainilda Valencia, MD, and Deepika Saini, MD, FAAP, and our team at Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, work with you to help your child create a healthy lifestyle and assist them in maintaining or attaining the right weight for their age and development. Follow these five tips to help your child stay at a healthy weight.

The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight

When it comes to staying at a healthy weight, good habits start in childhood. Your child will have an easier time maintaining their ideal weight range as an adult if they’re healthy during childhood.

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your child’s risk of developing conditions related to obesity, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Healthy habits also support your child’s physical, academic, and emotional development.

How to help your child achieve and maintain a healthy weight

Whether your child is already at a healthy weight or is overweight, starting healthy habits will help them stay at or become the ideal weight for their height. The following five tips can help your child and family.

1. Make physical activity a priority

Staying active is just as important as doing homework. Physical activity is fun for children and helps them maintain a healthy weight.

Aim for your child to get 30-60 minutes of activity every day. Give them lots of opportunities to be active doing the sports or other physical activities they enjoy, and get them involved in active family activities like taking a walk together.

2. Help your child choose healthy foods

Your child can stay at a healthy weight and learn about foods that boost their physical and mental health by eating a healthy diet. Your child’s diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein.

Keep healthy snacks for your child to eat between meals, like fruit, yogurt, and peanut butter. Limit unhealthy foods high in saturated fats, salt, and sugar, such as baked goods, chips, and ice cream.

A growing child often needs to eat more calories than adults. Our team can advise you on how much your child should eat for optimal health.

3. Limit screen time 

Staring at screens for hours every day makes it harder to stay active and easier to grab unhealthy snacks. The amount of screen time reasonable for your child depends on their age.

If your child is older, they should ideally use screens no more than an hour or two a day, aside from when they need them for homework. Help your child engage in fun family or physical activities when they’re not using screens.

4. Support your child in getting a good night’s sleep

Getting enough sleep helps curb your child’s appetite, improves their mood, and helps them be more active. Depending on your child’s age, they need anywhere from 8-16 hours of sleep nightly.

You can help your child get enough sleep by enforcing an early enough bedtime, limiting screen use the hour before bedtime, and creating a relaxed environment to calm your child before sleep.

5. Set a good example

You’re your child’s role model, and maintaining your healthy habits gives them a model for theirs. By eating a healthy diet, staying active with and without your children, sleeping a full night, and limiting your own screen time, you set a positive example for your child to follow.

Scheduling and attending well child exams and other appointments, as needed, helps our team advise you on your child’s ideal weight range and how to keep their development on track. Contact us by calling Valencia Pediatrics today to schedule your child’s appointment.

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