Children's weight issues Part 3 - Help for parents

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 01 February 2013.
Tagged: children, diet foods, dieting, diets, dinner, eating mindfully, fat loss, guides, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, kids, obesity, overweight, weight loss

Children's weight issues Part 3 - Help for parents
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Having a child with a weight problem needs perseverance and patience. An overweight child will typically not achieve their healthy weight range in anything less than six months and an obese child may be looking at several years before they get there.

The key to your child achieving their weight goal is for parents to stay motivated and keep the whole family involved in a healthier diet and a more active lifestyle. So, to keep you on track, I thought I'd remind you of the Ten Commandments for Parents when feeding too-chubby children:

The 10 Commandments for parents

  1. Avoid using food as a reward for good behaviour.
  2. Do focus on what they CAN eat, not on what they can't.
  3. Don't change your family's eating overnight - phase out the old favourites as they run out and introduce new meals gradually.
  4. Set a good example yourself (Dads especially) - let your kids see you drinking water and enjoying that salad.
  5. Don't expect one child to eat differently from the rest of the family - obesity is a family issue.
  6. Don't buy junk food - if it's not at home, they can't eat it.
  7. Be realistic - weight loss happens slowly but hopefully is permanent.
  8. See this as an opportunity to encourage healthy eating habits for life.
  9. Don't put your overweight child down or make them feel deprived. Work at building your child's self-esteem.
  10. Get involved yourself - kids love one-on-one time walking or throwing a ball with a parent.

Ways to get kids moving

Don't forget, exercise is a significant factor in most children's weight problems. Try these:

  • Limit TV and screen games to an hour a day.
  • Spend time playing outdoors, visit a park or the beach, go bike riding.
  • Encourage them to play a sport or dance.
  • Put kids in charge of walking the dog.
  • Walk/cycle to school or the shops, if safe.
  • Buy toys that require moving like racket games, pool floats, frisbee, badminton, ball games.
  • Play with your kids - catching, throwing, running.
  • Encourage the kids to do jobs or chores around the house.
  • Put on a popular music hit and dance with your kids.
  • Remind them that being active is not the same as playing sport. Work on decreasing the time they're sedentary. Have fun.

More help for parents

If you need more help, try these websites and books


  • Enlist the help of an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD). For your nearest APD, go to the website of the Dietitians Australia and choose Find a Dietitian or telephone 1800 812 942.
Catherine Saxelby About the author

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Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her award-winning book My Nutritionary will help you cut through the jargon. Do you know your MCTs from your LCTs? How about sterols from stanols? What’s the difference between glucose and dextrose? Or probiotics and prebiotics? What additive is number 330? How safe is acesulfame K? If you find yourself confused by food labels, grab your copy of Catherine Saxelby’s comprehensive guide My Nutritionary NOW!