According to the American Academy of Pediatrics hospitalizations surged 119 percent among children younger than 12 with eating disorders between 1999 and 2006. However, the percentage of overweight children in the United States is also growing at an alarming rate with 1 out of 3 children now considered overweight or obese.
This all puts parents in a difficult situation. We don't want our children to be overweight, but we don't want to drive them to have an eating disorder. So, how do you help your child to carefully make the correct choices, without hindering their self-esteem?
From personal experience, I can say that's easier said than done.
My daughter went through a period when she was always asking me if she's getting fat. I don't even like her to use that word. I keep telling her it's important to stay healthy and strong. Our pediatrician suggested we talk about "everyday snacks" and "sometime snacks". Fresh fruit, crackers and cheese, and frozen go-gurts can be everyday snacks but the cookies and chips can only be eaten sometimes. She seems to get the distinction and for the most part, has dropped the anxiety.
Good Morning America had some great advice for parents:
1. Get Rid of Fast Food and Fatty Snacks
2. Skip the Soda
3. Try to ave more Sit-Down Family Meals
4. Be a Role Model
5. Turn off the TV and Get Active
6. Be Wary of School Lunches
7. Watch Portion Sizes
8. But, Don't Be the Food Police
9. Don't Single Out Your Overweight Child