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Should Children Diet?

Updated on March 13, 2010
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Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. You don't just see obesity in adults anymore either. More and more children are fat. Many parents don't see it as a problem though and figure that their kids will be fine. But most children that are obese will turn into obese adults before you know it. Obesity is the leading cause of health problems in the US. It is up to parents to teach their kids the proper way to eat and exercise so that they don't become obese. That being said, what do you do when you have a child that is obese? Should they go on a diet like adults do?

I don't think so. I do not think children should diet the way adults do. They are still growing and need plenty of healthy fats in their diet. When most adults diet they try to cut out fats, but some fats are good for you. When you have an obese child it is important to talk to your doctor and be very careful about the way you feed your child and how you limit their food.

I see the obesity problem in children occurring for two reasons. Kids these days eat tons of junk food and fast food. These highly processed foods are filled with fake stuff that is very bad for you. The other cause of obesity is lack of exercise. Most kids come home from school and park in front of the TV. They play video games and watch TV for hours. Even homework is a very sedentary activity. And kids that come home alone while Mom and Dad are at work can't exactly go play outside safely anymore. So they stay inside - eating junk.

So rather than putting a child on a traditional diet, it is time to make some lifestyle changes. Make fast food a rare treat. Quit buying the chips, soda and candy at the store. Serve fresh fruits and vegetables at every single meal. Analyze the labels on all the foods that you buy. There is hidden sugar in almost everything. Even flavored organic milk has 27 grams of sugar per serving. That is a ton of sugar in milk.

If you have a selection of healthy foods available for your child to eat whenever they want, it is very likely that you won't have to limit how much they eat - as long as there isn't bad for you stuff in the house. Kids (including mine) will go for the treats every chance they get, but if it isn't available they will eat something else. Combine that with increased exercise and the obese child will probably slim down fairly quickly.

Exercise with your child if that will help. Play tag with them outside. Go for a walk after dinner or a bike ride in the afternoon. Or just give them some easy work outs to do. When my kids get too rambunctious then I figure they need to burn some energy. Telling them to do 100 jumping jacks or 50 sit-ups helps them and it helps me as it becomes a healthy outlet for their energy.

Also, if you can, sign them up for sports and activities. Our town and many around us, offer lots of after school activities for kids. Right now , for example, my son is playing gym games every Monday after school for an hour. It was a reasonable price and it has helped tremendously during the long winter months when getting outside is hard. My boys play soccer on Saturdays which involves lots of running around. There are so many options and if finances are a problem most organizations offer scholarships so that everyone can enjoy their programs. It is worth looking into for sure.

To sum it up, I do not think that children should diet, but that they should make lifestyle changes to help them slowly lose weight and become healthier. Eating right and getting more exercise will help obese children get down to a healthy weight. But if your child is obese, it is very important to talk to your doctor about changes you want to make. Keep in mind what is best for your child and traditional adult diets are not usually going to work for kids.


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    • cbris52 profile image

      cbris52 8 years ago

      Gosh... I see so many overweight children now... I think organized sports will be a good start... helps with burning off calories and teaches them discipline and teamwork as well.

    • calicoaster profile image

      calicoaster 8 years ago

      True, It is really essential to imbibe children with a healthy lifestyle as early as possible, so that they can enjoy their regime and food habits, rather than feeling deprived.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      Lifestyle change indeed! Thanks for an informative hub, Jennifer!

    • MEjones profile image

      MEjones 8 years ago

      Hey you're right!

    • profile image

      hubsroxx3 8 years ago from Monroe,NC

      no,children should not diet let them enjoy life!

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 8 years ago from Canada

      I think you are right, they should not diet or be deprived of food. Making them go hungry is not the way. Focusing on proper nutrition and fitness is.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Children shouldn't be put on a restrictive diet unless it is medically recommended but all children should be on a healthy balanced diet. Some parents are malnourishing their childrem because of their fear of them being fat.


    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 8 years ago from Utah

      Here Here!!

      Healthy eating habits need not to be a 'diet', they should be a lifestyle.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 8 years ago

      A year ago I put on 10 pounds I just can't lose. What I now realize is I was living with a daughter who cooked out of boxes, the pasta side dishes, etc. So I think it's even more than the calories in food, but the chemicals in packaged foods.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Good info. I think if kids would just exercise & cut back on sugar in their diets they'd be fine.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      A diet is just a way of eating so if kids are filling up on junk, then yes, by all means change the diet.

    • GoGranny profile image

      GoGranny 8 years ago from Southeastern PA

      I see many obese kids of obese parents. First rule out physical causes for the child's weight gain, there are certain diagnoses that can cause it. Then parents must take the responsibility for the child's health. Fad and commercial diets shouldn't be forced on kids, but healthy eating is the key. Good hub!

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 8 years ago from Irl

      One of the problems seems to be that kids don't really have the energy to exercise when they live on a diet of processed foods; but when dietary changes are made,normal childhood energy and activities follow naturally.

    • JenDobson27 profile image

      JenDobson27 8 years ago

      Parents need to do a better job of setting a good example. People need to make lifelong changes and forget about dieting because dieting doesn't work!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      I agree with you. I think the parents are to blame. They practically ruin that child. They brought it to this. Thank you for a very wise hub.

    • profile image 8 years ago from Somewhere on the highway....

      As i organise a childrens track and field team with kids under 12 years old,exercise is a vital point but understanding the rights and wrongs to eating healthy and a balanced diet is very difficult at these ages.I think through a fun athletic program that are available world wide where alot of these programs are paid for from the governement,obesity should be overcome.

    • genrp profile image

      Genie Rose Palabay-De Guzman 8 years ago from North Hollywood, CA, USA

      at an early age they should already be aware of what they eat..balance diet is the key and of course exercise..nice hub..


    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 8 years ago from Virginia

      Diet, no but they should eat sensibly and exercise.