It’s well know that obesity or being overweight is a growing epidemic among children, leading to increases in diabetes and other serious health problems.

It is also well know that to lose weight that you have to exercise and eat less. The problem is that it is hard to stay motivated to do these things. If it is hard for adults, you can expect that it is even harder for kids, who don’t necessarily understand the negative health aspect of being overweight. Losing Weight

How do you help your children lose weight?

It can help to stick to the basics. Don’t worry about counting calories and carbohydrates and fat grams. Instead, provide healthy meals and snacks and encourage regular physical activity.

Being a good role model is very important, starting when your kids are young. This can help the whole family to be healthy.

If your child is already overweight, you will likely have to make some changes to their diet. But this isn’t as hard as you think. It doesn’t have to involve counting every calorie that they eat, which can be especially hard if your kids are not always with you.

Instead, keep in mind that a pound is equal to about 3500 calories. So if your child is gaining an extra pound a week, they need to cut their diet back by 3500 calories a week or 500 calories a day so that they don’t gain more weight.

Fortunately, most kids don’t need to make such a drastic change to their diet. Your overweight teen is likely just gaining an extra 10-15 pounds a year, which would be equal to just 100 to 150 calories a day, about equal to a can of soda.

More exercise and more activity is the best way to stop gaining and start losing weight. Instead of thinking about how to diet to decrease the number of calories your child is taking in, you could also think about how much exercise they need to burn those calories.

Lynn Pass is owner of The Gym in Oneonta. She holds a
bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance from
Auburn University and personal training and aerobic certifications

in ACE, AFFA, and ACSM.