Talking to your kids about healthy eating

First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to help improve the health of children in America. By using her influence and time in the spotlight to talk to kids, you may be put in the situation where you will be talking to your child about their weight, eating habits and living a healthy lifestyle.

Weight can be a very sensitive subject for children and teens. How you approach weight issues with them can affect them their whole lives. Make sure that both parents are on the same page – agree on goals. It is absolutely essential that you avoid sending mixed messages.

Lead by example

For younger kids, the best way to help them is to see you making good decisions about food and exercise. Make lifestyle changes as a family and make fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks readily available. Look for ways to be active as a family. The earlier in their lives kids are exposed to a healthy lifestyle, the more ingrained in them it becomes. They’re less likely to have weight problems as adults.

Make it unemotional and constructive

Don’t threaten or punish children about their weight, food choices or physical activity. Turning these issues into battles can be disastrous to the child’s mental relationship with food, up to developing an eating disorder or the habit of overeating.

Seek advice

Chances are, you’re not a dietitian. Don’t be afraid to talk to your child’s pediatrician or to see if their school has someone who can help you with advice about weight management for children. Ask them for ideas about making positive changes in your family’s eating habits, activities and exercise. It may even be covered by your health insurance plan.

Focus on health, not weight

Helping kids with the big picture – overall health and fitness – is more important than them losing a few pounds. Compliment them on lifestyle behaviors and the choices they make.

By helping them to understand how to live healthier and setting a good example for them, these tips can help you talk to them and confronting the issue in a constructive manner and guide them toward making good decisions on their own.


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