Obesity: get out of the vicious circle!

No desire to rave, but hungry for snacks of all kinds. Lack of exercise and poor diet often occur in a double. What can parents do to keep their child fit and healthy? According to the German Society for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, about 15 percent of our children and adolescents are overweight. They eat fatty snacks, too few vegetables and barely move. With increasing pounds, the kids become lumbering and also take teasing of classmates. The common consequence: frustration food.

Role model function of the parents

Parents can break this vicious circle with a balanced diet, more exercise and, most importantly, their role-model function. "Parents should avoid hidden fats when shopping, because children can only take the food out of the fridge, which their parents have packed in before, " says Corinna Schrader, nutritionist at the Hamburg Children's Hospital Wilhelmsstift. Low-fat milk and yogurts (1.5%), cheeses below 35% fat and poultry sausage are good starting points.

Allowed: sweets in moderation

Rigid measures such as an absolute ban on chocolate usually only have short-term success. Children are allowed to snack on sweets, even if they eat enough fruit and vegetables. "What is important is the conviction and guidance for a balanced diet by the parents", explains Gothaer expert Dr. med. Martin Pollak. If you take many sugar-rich foods and soft drinks, you fall into a trap: the blood sugar level rises at short notice, then falls off quickly and then comes the next cravings - although you have just eaten.

Consciously eating and more exercise

Eating on the side, "picnicking" in front of the TV - many children hardly notice a difference between being hungry and full. "Take your time to eat, choose a quiet environment, and turn off the TV, " Dr. Pollak. At least as important as healthy diet is the fitness factor.

Parents should therefore regularly encourage their children to exercise more. In everyday life, for example, stairs playfully contributes to weight reduction. In the sports club children can also use a diverse range and try out. Often it is very helpful to look for allies. If parents can not cope with the situation on their own, they can get help from professional nutrition counseling centers or self-help groups.

Too fat, too thin, normal?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good guideline for children even more than adults. He shows the ratio of body weight to height. Unlike adults, children's normal values ​​change with age. Parents can use the table to see if their offspring is too fat or too thin. If the calculated value of your child is in the green range, the weight is considered normal.

For example, a ten-year-old girl weighs 36 kilograms and is 1.45 meters tall. Then their BMI value is: 36 / 1.45 2 = 16.9. The value is in the green and thus normal weight range. If the same girl weighed ten kilos more, it would be too fat. At 29 kilos it would be too thin.

But not only individual values ​​are important, but also their development over a longer period of time. Atypical changes may indicate disease. Parents should therefore keep an eye on the BMI of their children and, if necessary, ask a pediatrician for advice.

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