Child Wellness: Understanding overeating
Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are climbing. It's more important now than ever to know not only what your child is eating but why. Marcie Fraser explains.
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Who doesn't enjoy overeating once in a while? But too often can lead to unhealthy weight gain and poor self esteem.
With fast food, processed meals, keeping a child’s weight under control requires effort, preplanning healthy meals, providing low fat snacks, limiting junk food and encouraging exercise. An overweight child is a target for bullying which can affect them their entire life.
"It can cause a child to feel very different from other children," said Dr. James Kelleher, a psychiatrist.
When limiting how much a child eats, there is a fine line of discipline. How does a parent do it without negatively impacting the child’s self esteem and setting up a power struggle with food?
"It's important for people to understand the limitations at an early age and develop a certain amount of discipline about that and I don't think it should impact a persons' self esteem to be told in an appropriate way, 'this your limit in terms of food, this is as much exercise you need to do,’" said Dr. Kelleher.
Do you find your child hoarding food or eating when you know they are not hungry? When do you need the help of an expert?
"When it interferes with a child’s functioning, their self-esteem, relationships with other people," Dr. Kelleher explained.
As your child enters the teen years, be careful of extra pressure from the TV or magazine articles. Remind your child that beauty comes from within.
"It's not all about confirming to what other people think is a good image to have, whether it’s a standard of beauty or external beauty," said Dr. Kelleher.