Question: A 10-year-old boy is very overweight and does not want to talk to his pediatrician about dieting or exercise. How should a parent approach this situation?
Answer: Childhood obesity is a major medical problem for children and adolescents. Mainly because the extra pounds are leading to the kinds of illnesses that we once considered adult illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol levels. Most overweight children are well aware that they're overweight. But what they need from you is support, encouragement and understanding.
Start by having a discussion with your pediatrician about your child and your child's weight during their well child exam. Your pediatrician will look at something called the body mass index or BMI and determine where your child fits on the weight for age or BMI for age curve. If your child is overweight or has an excessive BMI at this point that's a good starting point for having a discussion with him. When you're doing your grocery shopping you want to make sure that you buy plenty of fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks, avoiding processed foods, you want to make sure that you have family meal time where your children are encouraged to discuss the days events which actually slows down their eating and may actually lead to them taking in smaller portions.
You want to make sure that you limit screen time and that includes television time, video games and computer time. And most importantly you want to make sure that your child has an active lifestyle.