Nearly one third of children nationwide are overweight and many parents are in denial about their child’s weight problem. Parents may think their child will “grow out of it” or that it’s in their genes. However, parents should take the health risks of being overweight seriously. There are even simple things they can do to help their child be healthier.

Overweight children have a greater tendency to develop Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Being overweight can also damage their self-esteem and limit the activities they enjoy because their breathing and energy level is affected.

If you have an overweight child, try not to focus on the weight and avoid making negative comments about body types. “Parents should understand that it’s not about weight; it’s about health and function,” says Dr. Jensen of the Provo office. You can help your child improve his health by including more fruits and vegetables in his diet and helping him have at least one hour of active play each day. Try to find fun, active options for your child, such as swimming, biking, sports or playing at the park.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s weight, talk to your pediatrician for advice to help your child make healthy choices.

Additional resources on obesity

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Childhood Obesity

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