Overweight and obesity are as common in kids as it is in adults. Increased screen time, the pressure of studies and the sedentary lifestyle of the current generation have led even small kids to gain a lot of weight. Moreover, since we have become habitual of seeing fatty people and kids around us, most parents do not even realize when their kids start becoming overweight. So, What is the Fastest Way for a Kid to Lose Weight?
Understanding that your child has weight issues is the first step to the fastest way for a kid to lose weight. Your child’s BMI (Body Mass Index) can help you understand if your child is overweight or obese. On average, a child with a BMI of 5% – 84% is considered healthy, 85% – 94% is overweight and more than 95% is obese.
Reasons for Weight Gain in Kids
The previous generations have never seen kids gaining weight at an early age. Nonetheless, today, increased weight is a common issue in every other household and the victims are sometimes kids as small as 7 or 8 years old.
Seven reasons why kids gain weight so easily nowadays are:
1. Increased Screen Time
Back then, when we were kids, we didn’t have mobile phones, laptops, or iPads to glue upon for hours at a stretch. However, kids today love watching videos, playing games, or even studying on the internet.
Moving on with technology is a good thing, but kids’ bodies also need physical exertion to grow and prosper. Increased screen time doesn’t allow them to go out and play, dance, cycle, run, or swim. This is the main cause of kids gaining weight today.
Many places in the world today are so polluted that even parents think that it is unsafe for their kids to play out. Thus, the kids end up performing some rigorous physical activity indoors, thereby, not getting an environment to play without boundaries, sweat, and burn a good amount of calories.
3. Increased Pressure of Studies:
20-25 years ago, kids did not have so much pressure for studies. Neither the parents nor the kids were too obsessed to get 90+%. Studies were an important part of life and so were games that were played in the outdoors.
Sadly, most people in our generation who are parents today have forgotten these basics and have started pressurizing their kids a lot about studies and performing well. Even the syllabus of the kids today has advanced a lot and the things that we studied in high schools are now a part of primary education.
Thus, kids hardly get time to involve themselves in exercising, athletics, or sports. Their bodies are not flexible and they have stamina as low as a 30-years old adult.
4. Dietary Habits:
At times when we were growing, there were not many fast food joints and eating out was a once-in-a-month affair. Fruits and vegetables were an essential part of our daily diet and soda or any other aerated sugary drinks was something that we got only as a treat.
Kids today need a bottle of their favorite aerated drink at every given point of time in their fridge. Fast food treats are available to them almost every weekend. Sometimes, if the kids do not like what is being cooked at home, they are very conveniently treated with an online-ordered fast food treat.
Therefore, children, today do not even know what they are losing in terms of nutrition and health. They do not know that their fat bellies are a result of these treats that just add up on their calorific value but have nothing to provide as nutrition. We are responsible for changing their dietary habits and choices for their entire life and even the next generations to come.
5. Lack of Socialization:
We, as kids, knew everyone in our colonies and had the guts to go to any house in our neighborhood to play and enjoy. Children today hardly know anyone in their neighborhood. This is because they do not even know what being social means, thanks to the busy nature of the work of their parents.
Human lifestyle has gradually shifted from being a social animal to being a self-centered creature. Sadly, in metro cities, sometimes we do not even know the names of our neighbours. Hence, our kids end up having no friends or peers to play with while they are at home; thereby, increasing kilos sitting at home and watching TV.
6. Pre-puberty Weight Gain:
Pre-puberty weight gain is very common in girls. Girls tend to gain about 10-15 kg of weight during their pre-puberty and early puberty time. However, what has changed today is that weight gain does not get lost. Due to the earlier mentioned lifestyle issues, it becomes difficult, rather almost impossible, for girls to lose weight until at least their early twenties.
7. Medical Reasons for Over-weight Child
All of the lifestyle issues that our generation and the next generation is facing leads to certain medical conditions that can affect your child’s weight. Some of the medical reasons for overweight children are hypothyroidism, PCOS in girls, stress, etc.
How to Talk to Your Child about Weight:
Before you start working on how can a kid lose his weight fast, you need to first convey to your child that he is overweight/obese. However, it is also essential that you not make your child feel ill about his weight and fat.
Kids today are over-sensitive and we do not know what might hurt them to a level that they start feeling sad and under-confident. Thus, it is vital that you remember the following points while discussing with your child about his weight.
- You need to take extra care to make your child understand that being fat or overweight does not mean he looks ugly and that weight has nothing to do with looks. Nevertheless, weight is one of the most vital factors to consider while talking about the general health of a person. Hence, tell him that he needs to lose some weight not because he looks bad or kids around him get a chance to bully him, but because he needs to be fit for a good and healthy life.
- Do not feel sorry or bad for your own body, weight, or color. If you need to improve too, start with your kid actively. This will only motivate him more.
- While discussing this issue, remember not to give any negative comment to your child. Also, do not make fun of his large belly or chubby cheeks. Talk compassionately to your child and make him feel that you are with him in his weight loss journey.
- Do not stress or overburden your child too much about this thing. Make him understand that you are doing this for his betterment and that it is not a punishment or an overhead, but just a part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Share your own or your friends’/relatives’ weight loss story that can inspire your child to work towards his goal. This will also enhance your bond with your child.
- Do not be very strict with your child when it comes to losing weight. Having a cheat day once in a while or sharing your own weaknesses related to diet or working out with your kid is okay. Strictness usually backfires and you will only lose your trust in your child. Hence, being patient in this is the only key.
What is the Fastest Way for a Kid to Lose Weight?
Parents with bulky kids often search for how do kids lose weight or the fastest way for a kid to lose weight. Well, diet is the root cause of your child’s weight gain.
However, while starting with the weight loss plan for your child, do not limit his calories randomly. Kids perform physical activities more than an adult. Additionally, their physical growth needs calories too. Therefore, do not cut down on food, carbs, or calories on your own. This might hinder their physical growth.
Below is a diet chart that shows kids’ diet that works for weight loss according to their ages. For more details, it is good to consult your child’s pediatrician.
Various sources for these different food groups are as below:
1. Balanced Diet:
Rather than reducing on your child’s food portions, cut on unnecessary calories that he might be gaining through oily food. Reduce sugar intake, fast foods, and unhealthy snacks and instead add on more fruits and vegetables.
High water content in fruits and vegetables reduce their calorific value but maintain their nutritional value. Hence, focussing more on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains make you full as well as fulfil your nutritional needs.
Focus on providing your child a fulfilling and balanced healthy diet rather than a diet that just fills up his stomach and adds upon his calorie intake exponentially.
2. Set a Good Example:
No child can eat healthy unless he sees his elders and parents do so. Parents are a child’s role models and if you yourself eat an unhealthy and unbalanced diet, it is unfair to expect your kids to follow an ideal path.
Hence, if you want your kid to adopt healthy eating habits or an overall lifestyle, you first need to implement them into your life. Moreover, this will also reinforce the fact that you are always with your kid in his weight loss journey.
3. Small Food Portions:
Eating smaller food portions is good for adults as well as kids. Give small but frequent food portions to your child. For smaller kids, serve them in small plates. Else, they will end up eating larger food portions like their parents.
Do not force smaller kids to eat as per your own instinct every time. If your toddler eats lesser than other days, respect his choice. Do not force-feed him. This will only make him lose his own sense of hunger and food portions.
4. Water Intake:
The human body constitutes 60% water. Thus, to maintain our blood volume, our body temperature to 98.6º F, to transport nutrients and oxygen to different tissues of our body, and to carry waste products away, our bodies need plenty of fluids.
However, this doesn’t mean that kids should fulfill their fluid needs with soda, cold drinks, energy drinks, or any other sweetened drink. The best quencher for anyone’s thirst is water. Kids should drink around 200-250 ml of water equal to their age with a maximum of 2 L for an 8-year-old kid. This means that a 2-year-old child should drink at least 400-500 ml of water.
5. Sound Sleep:
Babies up to the age of one need plenty of sleep for the proper development of their bodies and minds. Sleep is also necessary for kids to be energetic, playful, active, and attentive for studies. Additionally, their nutritional requirements and metabolisms also need kids to have a good sleep.
6. Reduce Screen-time:
The availability of plenty of gadgets in their homes makes kids surround themselves with technology at an early age. As a result, their screen time increases and that is how their lifestyle changes from being in the playground to a sedentary lifestyle.
It is important for us, as parents, to limit their screen-time or gadget time and force them, if required, to go and play outside. Remember, kids need to be physically active.
7. Frequent Physical Activity:
Six 10-minutes of rigorous physical activity is equivalent to a one-hour exercise. Start with 20-30 minutes a day and extend it to 60 minutes of physical activity for your kid.
Children usually enjoy exercises that include the whole family. Plan family activities like dancing, cycling, swimming, running, or aerobics to improvise the health of the whole family. In addition, encourage your child to play in the garden with his friends for some time.
8. Play Sports:
At around 7-8 years of age, kids start understanding and playing simple sports. Their hand-eye coordination and motor skills are well developed to play organized sports. At 10, kids are able to understand, play, and even excel in complex and team sports.
Playing sports from an early age in life not only balances your kid’s weight and metabolism but is also helpful in providing them with various other life skills. Kids who play sports tend to develop team spirit, confidence, discipline, and leadership qualities in life.
9. Join Summer Camps:
Summer camps today are very different from those five years back. There are camps today that not only focus on hobbies like the traditional ones but also on various other useful things.
There are camps for yoga, aerobics, adventure activities, sports, martial arts, etc besides other hobby and science camps. Additionally, certain camps also have separate exercise programs for overweight children. Enrolling your kid into one of such camps will help them become fit, confident, disciplined and self-dependent