6 Things to Do when you have an obese child

obesity in kids- Parenting resources by ZenParent

A new study suggests that most parents may not able to identify if their offspring is obese or not.

But alas! We live in a society that takes note of every inch of our appearance- be it be a curve, a pound, a bulge or even a heavy-boned physique. Both our public as well as private lives are being observed by people known to us, and if our kids are overweight, they are only to be critiqued by anyone who comes across them. Most may not say it out loud, but the way they look at a ‘fat’ child is not something his/ her parent appreciates. And this probably adds to our effort in pushing obese children to be in shape while considering that it’s even good for their health.

Undoubtedly, fat is probably the worst thing that for an adult to ever be, while on the hand never being fat is the best thing one can ever be. And somehow, kids who are obese face the harsh reality of not being tagged to be “good-looking” or “acceptable” enough, if they are not fitting in the unseen list of what all takes to be appreciated by people in general. Because, let’s face it, even when we teach our children to not be judgmental and believe in themselves for how they are as individuals, others somehow will still impose their notions upon them, especially when the children are overweight. Mainly because it is highly unlikely for a person to not to recognize a fat person, right from the moment they see one. But a new study put forth by the British Journal of General Practice, suggests that there exists a demographic group that’s struggling hard to peep through that blind spot.  Parents are the only members of this group and it happens only when they are looking at their own fat child.

fat kids- Parenting resources by ZenParent

For a recent experiment, researchers gathered data from 3000 families in the UK, categorised the children as normal weight, overweight (above 85 percentile) and very overweight (above the 95th percentile as per US standards) according to their BMI. Next, they asked the parents to guess the category that could be applied to their children.

Surprisingly, a Forbes magazine report suggests that most of the parents had guessed it wrong.

As per the reports, out of the 369 overweight kids, only parents of four thought they actually were.

How fascinating, isn’t it? I have been earshot with many tales which highlighted that most women tend to acquire eating disorders from their overly critical mums, while the men inherit them from their hyper masculine dads. So, my first thought after reading about this research was “GREAT” that strikes two people from the world to teach the kids that being fat is a bad thing in our society. And that’s true, since people generally will notice a fat child in no time and most of them won’t shy away from mouthing it as early and as cruelly as possible.

I have been a fat kid too, and there was no dearth of messages to pin-point that. By any chance, those messages didn’t make me thin and neither did they make me healthy.

I feel that as a parent it is mandatory for you to devote your life to protect your offspring’s health, but there are better ways of ensuring their fitness and longevity without crushing through their humanity.  Though, it might be confusing for some, whether to or not to shame or abuse vulnerable child, but doing will be of no help. So, navigating through the intricacies picked up from the “Been There, Done that” situation, I’ve come up with a few words of advice for parents with a fat kid.

what not to say to your fat child- Parenting resources by ZenParent

1. Be their cheering quad:

For the love of god, if you suspect that you might be raising a fat kid, do not pin-point it to them. Talk to anybody you wish to- your spouse, your pediatrician, in-laws or a close friend (Yes! Even they will have some opinions about fat people), but try and seek their help to ensure your child doesn’t feel bad because they tell them something annoying about their weight. Fat kids mostly get the message loud and clear from their teachers, peers or even passers anyway and what you really need to do is just ask your loved ones to join your cheer leading squad to tell your kids they are OKAY. Remember, protecting the child’s metal health is as important as their physical health.

2. Avoid commenting on their physique

Stop commenting on your kid’s physical appearance, particularly if you have a girl child. They will have a significant part of the century to make them realise that scrutinizing, evaluation and ranking will follow them anywhere they go. So, just compliment them for their kindness, sense of humour or even geometry skills. Trust me, when the right time comes, they will begin keeping a tab. So, be there to ensure they eat timely and healthy, without unknowingly leading them to cut down their diet for worse.

3. Stop trying to make them thin, instead make them healthy

Give them the fuel along with the ways to burn it. Feed your kids nutritious food and take them out for trekking, challenge them to a dance off, ask them to join your for a Tennis game or just throw a Frisbee. That’s because nothing can be more fun and satisfying than exercise and it might as well help them become fitter.  Remember, that even thin kids deserve nutrition and exercise to turn into healthy adults.

obesity in children should be handled calmly- Parenting resources by ZenParent

4. Don’t chase the random number on the scale

If your child approaches you with concerns, questions or anxieties about their weight, just be kind to them. Ensure that they know that their body size has nothing to do with their intellect, potential or even worth. Advise them to prioritise health, encourage them to participate in some form of physical exercise.

Remember, you are your child’s first mentor. So, at the same time, stop telling yourself  too that you look unpleasant and gross before the kids hear it.

5. Be Pro-health

Step forward and support people and friends within your family and social circle that help make inexpensive and healthy lifestyle popular among your kids. Seeing known people following a healthy regime, your kids will also feel encouraged to be fit.

Remember that health is a source of pride that holds little inherent moral value.

fat kids should be dealt with calmly- Parenting resources by ZenParent

6. Fight for the dignity and humanity of fat people

A recent study, suggests that fat stigma and body shame can actually intensify weight gain. So, if weight-loss is what you are struggling for when it comes to your kids who are obese, just ensure that they live a life free from abuse and derision. And if ever they are harassed by someone because of their weight issues, help them to believe in themselves because this too shall pass, provided the corrective measures to curb the issue are undertaken with full heart.

 

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