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Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity

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Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity

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Over the years, the burden of childhood obesity has almost doubled. The below article is detailed on the same, including some tips to prevent it.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At December 14, 2018
Reviewed AtAugust 16, 2023


Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition affecting children and adolescents. It is particularly a matter of concern because childhood obesity can lead to social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem. All these effects can last well into adulthood. They are at increased risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as hypertension, asthma, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, bone, and joint problems.

What Causes Childhood Obesity?

Obesity is complex. Several factors can cause kids to gain weight quickly, including:

  • Poor diet intake that contains high levels of fat or sugar and low levels of nutrients.

  • Sedentary lifestyle.

  • Personal, parental, and family stress.

  • Genetics and hormonal factors.

  • Certain medications.

  • Child care and school environments.

  • Inaccessibility to healthy foods and beverages.

  • Inaccessibility to a safe place to exercise.

What Are the Different Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity?

To help prevent excess weight gain in children, the following can be helpful:

Limit the Consumption of Trans-Fat:

Foods high in bad fats are pleasant to taste but hazardous to health. A few examples of high fatty foods include pasta, burgers, fries, and pizzas. These foods are high in trans-fat, which may be hazardous for the health of your child's heart leading to high cholesterol levels raising the very high-density lipoproteins, which are bad fats, and decreasing the high-density lipoproteins, which are good fats. To reverse this, encourage the kids to consume foods that contain good fats like almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds which are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which protect the heart.

Consume Lots of Water:

Water helps lose weight by flushing harmful toxins out of the body and reduces water retention in the body. Encourage your kid to consume lots of water to cleanse the system of toxins. If your kid does not like consuming water, make it more flavourful by adding slices of cucumber, mint, and lemon in it in the form of detox water.

Include Fruits and Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber. Consuming a sufficient amount of fiber, up to 25 grams per day, enhances the weight loss process in overweight children. Soluble fibers present in apples and oats bind to the cholesterol present in the heart and remove it through digestion and hence, protecting the child from various cardiovascular diseases at a very early age.

Reduce Sedentary Time:

Participating in sports is the most effective way to increase the child's basal metabolic rate (BMR) and thereby helping them to lose weight and stay fit. It also helps to enhance the kid’s self-esteem by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins.

In addition, regular physical activity has many health benefits, including strengthening bones, decreasing blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing self-esteem, and helping with weight management.

Indulge in Mindful Eating Practices:

Teach the kids to focus on one activity at a time. For example, while eating food, switch off the television so that the kid's mind does not get diverted and the kid does not overeat.

Make Healthier Alternatives:

Prepare healthy snacks for children. For example, include air-popped popcorn without butter, fruits with low-fat yogurt, carrots with hummus, flaxseed and date bars, or whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk.

Ensure Adequate Sleep:

Sleep is considered essential, along with diet and physical activity, as part of a healthy lifestyle. Research suggests that inadequate sleep can increase the risk of obesity. Sleep deprivation can cause certain hormonal imbalances that can increase appetite resulting in obesity. Children usually need more sleep than adults, and the amount of sleep typically varies by age. Parents should ensure that their child must get enough sleep to protect against childhood obesity.

Watch Portion Size:

Overeating can lead to obesity, so it is vital to make sure that children eat proper portions. Portion size refers to the amount of food an individual chooses to eat. Parents can take control of their children's portion sizes and help them learn to do the same.

They can do it by serving food on smaller plates so meals look larger when cooking large batches or storing leftovers, separating them into smaller portions before putting them in the fridge or freezer, and not letting kids eat out of bags or containers.

Do Not Focus On Weight Loss:

It is not recommended to try traditional weight-loss strategies for children. Instead, focus on helping the children to develop healthy eating behaviors. A calorie-restricted diet may prevent children from getting the essential vitamins, minerals, and energy they need for proper growth. Always consult with a pediatrician or healthcare provider before putting a child on a diet.

Teach Healthy Habits:

Prepare nutritious dishes so that children develop healthy eating habits that may last a lifetime. Parents should involve kids in the home meal preparation and encourage them to participate so that they become more aware of their food choices.

Set a Good Example:

Make healthy eating habits and regular physical activity a family affair so that everyone can benefit and no one would feel singled out.

Choose Nonfood Rewards:

Do not use food items, such as candies or chocolates, as a reward.

Regular Checkups:

Ensure that the child sees the doctor for checkups at least once a year. During the visit, the doctor may measure the child's body mass index (BMI). A significant increase in the child's BMI percentile rank over one year may indicate that the child is at risk of becoming overweight.


Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that is particularly troubling because it often directs children on the path to health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In addition, it can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. Treating and preventing childhood obesity is essential to protect children's health now and in the future. Several methods like practicing healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, watching portion sizes, reducing sedentary time, and getting adequate sleep are the best ways to prevent obesity.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Five Ways To Prevent Childhood Obesity?

- Childhood obesity can be prevented in the following ways:
 - A healthy diet includes fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
- Drinking lots of water can help prevent obesity by removing toxins from the body and also prevents water retention.
- Encourage children to get involved in physical activities and reduce sedentary time, which cause obesity in children.
- Limit trans-fat consumption and help children indulge in mindful eating habits to avoid distraction and overeating.
- Develop healthy eating habits in a child and ensure that the child eats portioned sizes of the food they want.


How Can Schools Help Prevent Childhood Obesity?

Schools can help prevent childhood obesity by regularly educating students about healthy lifestyle and engaging students in physical activities and nutrition lessons. In addition, schools can also include healthy food options in cafeterias and eliminate unhealthy offerings in school canteens.


What Are the Solution for Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity can be prevented by inculcating healthy eating habits in the child, reducing sedentary activities like watching tv and using mobile phones or gaming consoles, and encouraging regular physical exercises.


How Can We Reduce Obesity Quickly?

Obesity can be reduced quickly by drinking lots of water, limiting sugar intake, avoiding processed foods, eating a protein-rich diet and limiting trans-fats, and getting involved in more physical activities and regular healthy meals.


How can Physical Activity Reduce Childhood Obesity?

Physical activity helps to reduce childhood obesity by increasing the BMR (basal metabolic rate), which keeps the child fit and helps them lose weight. In addition, physical activities reduce anxiety and stress, increase the child’s self-esteem, decrease blood pressure, and thus, aid in weight management.


How Can We Prevent Obesity Pandemic?

The obesity pandemic can be prevented by avoiding unhealthy food and beverages, limiting sedentary activities, reducing screen time, mobiles, etc., and indulging in healthy eating.


What Are the Ways to Reduce Obesity Naturally?

- Obesity can be reduced naturally in the following ways:
- Mindful eating.
- Good sleep.
- Regular exercising and tracking diet.
- Limiting carbohydrates and sugar.
- Eating more fiber and protein-rich diet.


How Can Children Lose Weight?

Children can lose weight through regular physical exercises, healthy eating habits, reducing sedentary lifestyle, limiting processed and sugary foods and drinks, and eating smaller portions and avoiding overeating.


How Can We Keep Our Children Healthy?

- We can keep our children healthy in the following ways:
- Regular exercise.
- Adequate sleep.
- Maintaining good hygiene practices such as washing hands before eating.
- Regular immunization.
- Reducing screen time.
- Help the child cope with stress and anxiety.
- Limiting screen time.


What Is a Healthy Lifestyle for Children?

Good eating habits and drinking lots of water regularly are a child's main healthy lifestyle options. It includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and dairy and avoiding sugar, fat, and fast food.


What Good Habits Should a Child Have?

- Children should have the following good habits:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene.
- Eating healthy.
- Early sleep and early rising.
- Involving in physical activities.
- Drinking plenty of water.


Why Is Childhood Obesity a Serious Problem?

Obesity is a serious problem because it is not only a cosmetic concern and a medical problem that can increase the risks of various health problems and diseases. Obesity causes excess body fat accumulation and can lead to various health consequences such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers.


What Food Should Children Avoid Eating?

Children should avoid processed, unhealthy, high sodium or salt content, unpasteurized food, and beverages that have high sugar content.


How Many Meals Should Children Eat?

A child should eat at least three meals a day. In addition, they should be given some food every two to three hours or five to six times a day.


Which Food Is Good for Children’s Brains?

Berries (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, blackberries), fish, green vegetables, nuts and seeds, plums, apples, and yogurt are some foods that are good for children’s brains.
Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina
Quadros Krystel Godfrey Lavina



eating habits in childrenoverweightchildhood obesity
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