What can I do about Childhood Obesity?
A healthy weight can be maintained by balancing the amount of energy going into a child's body (as food and drink) and the energy being used (for a child's body to function and grow and physical activity). Eating a balanced diet and leading a physically active lifestyle can help maintain a healthy weight.
- Overweight and obese children need support, acceptance, and encouragement from their parents and carers. Children should know that they are loved and appreciated regardless of their weight.
- Parents and carers should focus on their child's health and positive qualities, not the child's weight.
- Overweight and obese children should not be made to feel different. Gradually changing the family's physical activity and eating habits should be the focus for parents and carers, rather than the child's weight.
Physical Activity Suggestions
- Be more physically active, or 'move more'. It is recommended that Australian adults accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Children should be active every day in as many ways as they can, and there are additional benefits in more vigorous activity.
- Encourage family activities that include enjoyable physical activity for everyone.
- Ensure a safe environment for children and their friends to engage in active play, eg swimming, cycling, ball sports.
- Decrease the time spent in sedentary activities, eg watching TV, playing video and computer games.
- Encourage 'active commuting' such as walking to school, the bus, or the shops when appropriate.
- Follow the 'Australian Guide to Health Eating':
- Children should be encouraged to drink water and to limit intake of sugary beverages, eg soft drinks.
- Plan for healthy snacks and provide healthy options such as fresh fruit and vegetables, instead of snacks that are high in fat, sugars, and low in essential nutrients.
- Avoid the use of food as either a reward, or withholding as a punishment.
- Plan to eat home-cooked meals together as a family as often as possible.
- Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV.
- Encourage children to eat a healthy breakfast as a good way to start the day
This web page is managed and authorised by Centre for Health Advancement of the NSW Department of Health. Last updated: 17 March, 2009