Give Now

A Moment of Science

What’s The Best Way To Help Kids Lose Weight?

According to a recent study, there's only one proven way to motivate kids to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

three kids walking on a trail in the forest

Photo: vastateparksstaff (Flickr)

Losing weight can be difficult - especially for children.

You’ve probably heard that approximately one out of three children in the United States are, by medical standards, overweight or obese. And you’ve probably also heard or read about all sorts of possible solutions: getting rid of sugary snacks and sodas in schools, changing the home food environment, and parents learning the skills to encourage weight loss in their children.

According to a recent study, there’s only really one proven way to help kids lose weight, and that’s by parents losing weight themselves.

Good Health Is For The Entire Family

Now, of course, not all overweight kids have overweight parents who need to or even should lose weight. But other studies have shown that being overweight or obese tends to run in families. And as the recent study suggests, parents setting a weight loss example is far and away the best method for helping kids slim down.

The researchers looked at eighty 8 to 12 year olds who were considered overweight or obese and their parents. The parent-child pairs participated in two different weight treatment programs for five months: parent only or parent and child.

The programs focused on various techniques, including introducing healthy foods into the home, limiting how much kids ate, portion control, exercising with the child, and parent weight loss. The study concluded that the latter was most effective.

Following Advice

It’s not difficult to fathom why. It’s one thing to tell your kids to eat less junk and more vegetables and be more active. But if you’re not following your own advice, why should your kids? If, though, you talk the talk and walk the walk, shedding pounds becomes less of a burden and more something that parents and kids do together.

And remember, before starting any weight loss program, especially one with children involved, to make sure to consult with a physician.

Sources And Further Reading:

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science