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For preschool aged

children, Dr. D’Souza

recommends that outdoor

play is particularly helpful.

“Encourage physical activity

by prescribing playground

time and providing a list of

local resources,” he says, while

for older children, encourage

structured physical activity

whenever possible as well

as participation in team

sports, individual

sports, or supervised

exercise sessions.

overweight obesity for children

two years of age and older,” he

says. “In the overweight category,

BMI is between the 85th and 95th

percentile for age and sex while

in the obese category, the BMI is

greater than 95th percentile for age

and sex.” He adds that having an

obese parent increases the risk of

obesity by two to three folds. The

likelihood of the persistence of

childhood obesity into adulthood

is related to age, parental obesity

and the severity of the obesity.

Helping Treat an Obese or

Overweight Child

• A universal measurement of BMI

and plotting of results on a BMI

chart can help monitor changes.

• A routine assessment of all

children for obesity related

risk factors to allow for early


• For children who are overweight

or obese, a series of clinical

counselling interventions.

• Remember communication and

intervention should be supportive

rather than blaming, it should

focuse on the entire family rather

than on the child alone.


• Establish a healthy feeding

relationship early in life.

• Encourage a family to eat


• Limit the consumption of

sugar sweetened beverages

• Encourage a diet with a

good portion of vegetables

and fruits.

• Limit fast food


• Encourage moderate to

rigorous physical activity for

at least one hour per day.

• Limit television and other

screen time.

Try These Tips

The best help for the child is often for

the whole family to eat a healthier

diet: less fat and sugar, more fresh fruit

and vegetables and more unrefined

carbohydrates. The following are more

eating tips for children:

• Bake, grill, or boil foods rather than


• Give water or diluted fruit juice, never

sweetened drinks, when your child is


• Give whole meal bread, raw

vegetables, and fruit as snacks.


Almost all obesity in children

is strongly influenced by

environmental factors,

tells Dr. D’Souza which is

caused by either a sedentary

lifestyle of a calorie

intake that is greater than

required. “Other reasons

include increasing trends

in high Glycemic Index

foods, sugar containing

beverages, portion sizes

for prepared foods, fast

food service, a diminishing

family presence at meals,

decreasing structured

physical activity, increasing

use of computer oriented

play activity and a decreased

availability of playgrounds

and sidewalks,” he explains.

Also genetic factors play a

permissive role and interact

with environmental factors

to produce obesity. “Also

endocrine causes of obesity

are identified as less than

one percent of children

and adolescents” he says

with increasing evidence to

support a role for metabolic

programming in the

development of obesity.

HowTo Introduce your

child to a variety of


• Offering new foods-it takes a

long time for young children

to try new foods…you may

have to try 10 times or more.

• Offering favorite foods with

new types of foods.

• Letting your child prepare


• Be a role model for your

child by eating with the child

and showing your child that

you like new foods.

• Limit the amount of low

nutrient, sugar-sweetened

drinks you give your child

by offering only pure

unsweetened juices instead

of fruit drinks, punches, and

soft drinks.

• Serve half to one cup of low-

fat milk with each meal.

• Offer meals and snacks at

similar times each day so

that your child knows when

to expect to eat.



Mar/Apr 2015