If your child is very overweight, there’s lots you can do to help them become a healthy weight as they grow.
Let them know that you love them, whatever their weight, and that all you want is for them to be healthy and happy.
Steps for success
Be a good role model
- Any changes you make to your child’s diet and lifestyle are much more likely to be accepted if the changes are small and involve the whole family. Here are 10 ways to get healthy as a family.
- If you’re not sure what activities you’d like to try as a family, try this Which sport are you made for? tool to find out what you’re best suited to.
If your child isn’t used to being active, encourage them to start with what they can do and build up to 60 minutes a day. They’re more likely to stick to their new activity levels if you let them choose the type of activity they’re comfortable with.
Walking or cycling short distances instead of using the car or bus is a great way to be active together as a family – and you’ll save money, too.
- Find out the amount and type of physical activity recommended for under-5s.
- Find out the amount and type of physical activity recommended for children and young people aged 5 to 18.
- Join Change4Life for free and your child will get their own personalised activity plan full of good ideas for getting moving.
- This article helps you and your child understand calories.
- Keep track of your child’s daily calorie intake with MyFitnessPal’s free online calorie counter (also available as an app).
- Find out how many calories children aged 7 to 10 need and how many calories teenagers need.
- Explain to your child how to get the balance of their diet right using the Eatwell Guide – it shows how much they should eat from each food group.
- Read more about what counts as a balanced diet.
- Get ideas for healthy packed lunches.
Eat healthy meals
For example, if they have two glasses of fruit juice and a smoothie in one day, that still only counts as one portion.
Their combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies should not be more than 150ml a day – which is a small glass.
For example, if they have 150ml of orange juice and 150ml smoothie in one day, they’ll have exceeded the recommendation by 150ml.
When fruit is blended or juiced, it releases the sugars which increases the risk of tooth decay so it’s best to drink fruit juice or smoothies at mealtimes.
Discourage your child from having sugary or high-fat foods like sweets, cakes, biscuits, some sugary cereals, and sugar-sweetened soft and fizzy drinks. These foods and drinks tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients.
Aim for your child to get most of their calories from healthier foods such as fruit and vegetables, and starchy foods like bread, potatoes, pasta and rice (preferably wholemeal). And switch sweetened drinks for water.
- Fussy eater? Not a problem with these tips to help your kids enjoy their 5 A Day.
- Tasty 5 A Day family-friendly recipes.
- Find out more about healthy drinks for children.
- Swap high-fat foods for these healthier alternatives.
- Get ideas for sugar swaps when you shop and healthier swaps for breakfast, snacks and puddings.
Less screen time and more sleep!
- Find out how much sleep children need according to their age.
- How screens impair children’s sleep.
- Sleep tips for children.
- Hidden causes of weight gain.