Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
Parents play a crucial role in helping children who are obese feel loved and in control of their weight. Take advantage of every opportunity to build your child's self-esteem. Don't be afraid to bring up the topic of health and fitness, but do be sensitive that a child may view your concern as an insult. Talk to your kids directly, openly and without being critical or judgmental.
In addition, consider the following advice:
- Be sensitive to your child's needs and feelings. Becoming active is an important lifestyle change for your child to make, but your child is more likely to stick to those changes if you let him or her choose what physical activities he or she is comfortable with.
- Find reasons to praise your child's efforts. Celebrate small, incremental changes, but don't reward with food. Choose other ways to mark your child's accomplishments, such as going to the bowling alley or a local park.
- Talk to your child about his or her feelings. Help your child find ways to deal with his or her emotions that don't involve eating.
- Help your child focus on positive goals. For example, point out that he or she can now bike for more than 20 minutes without getting tired or can run the required number of laps in gym class.
- About BMI for children and teens. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_BMI/about_childrens_BMI.html. Accessed March 28, 2012.
- Flegal KM, et al. Characterizing extreme values of body mass index-for-age by using the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009;90:1314.
- Ford ES, et al. Concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol among children and adolescents in the United States. Circulation. 2009;119:1108.
- The fourth report on the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/hypertension/hbp_ped.htm. Accessed March 28, 2012.
- Barlow SE, et al. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: Summary report. Pediatrics. 2007;120:S164.
- Shrewsbury VA, et al. The role of parents in pre-adolescent and adolescent overweight and obesity treatment: A systematic review of clinical recommendations. Obesity Reviews. 2011;12:759.
- Baur LA, et al. Assessment and management of obesity in childhood and adolescence. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2011;8:635.
- Ibele AR, et al. Adolescent bariatric surgery. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2011;91:1339.
- Dunican KC, et al. Pharmacotherapeutic options for overweight adolescents. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2007;41:1445.
- Woo T. Pharmacotherapy and surgery treatment for the severely obese adolescent. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 2009;23:206.
- Meridia (prescribing information). Abbott Park, Ill.: Abbott Laboratories; 2010. http://www.meridia.net/. Accessed March 28, 2012.
- Xenical (prescribing information). Nutley, NJ.: Genentech, Inc.; 2012. http://www.gene.com/gene/products/information/xenical/. Accessed March 28, 2012.