Help! My Kids are Overweight!

By Diana Keuilian

If you find yourself fretting over your child's waistline, you are not alone. The youth of today are fatter than ever before, and parents are starting to panic. Why are our kids so heavy, and what should we do about it?

Childhood obesity has been described as an epidemic. Overweight children are more susceptible to problems involving their cardiovascular systems, endocrine systems, and even their mental health. Type 2 diabetes mellitus, depression, and low self-esteem are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems and risks associated with overweight children.

Ironically, both the problem and the solution to this serious problem can be summed up in one simple equation: Energy In versus Energy Out. When more energy is consumed than is utilized, the result is fat storage. In short, our kids eat too much and do too little.

Energy In

The Problem: Parents today are busier than ever before, navigating through hectic schedules. Not surprisingly, many are taking advantage of convenient fast-food restaurants or the prolific abundance of instant and pre-packaged meals available at grocery stores. As a result, our kids are eating far more fried, processed, and sugary foods than we did as children. These foods are laden with excessive calories that result in weight gain.

The Solution: Take time to evaluate your children's diet. Do they eat three balanced meals a day? Do they eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day? Are they limited in their servings of fried, processed, and sugary foods?

Avoid buying sugar-filled snacks while grocery shopping. Instead, fill your cart with fresh, healthy snacks. Make time to plan family meals so that you don't find yourself in another drive-thru restaurant.

Energy Out

The Problem: Computers, video games, and satellite TV are our children's latest and greatest toys. Who has time to play outside when you are about to conquer the hardest level on your video game, or your favorite show is about to start? Our kids participate in less physical activity and are far more sedentary than any previous generation.

The Solution: Limit the time your children spend on sedentary activities, such as TV and video games. Sign your kids up with a local sports team so that they can run and be active with other kids. Take the whole family to the park on a weekend instead of gathering in front of the TV.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your children healthy habits that lead to good health. Obese children have a much greater likelihood of remaining obese in their adult years, thus greatly increasing the risk of serious health problems.

Talk to your children about their eating habits and activity levels, informing them of the consequences of good versus bad choices. Make it a family effort to start eating healthier and increase physical activities, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Diana Keuilian, author, ACE certified Personal Trainer, and co-founder of offers online personal training and nutrition programs that fit your budget and schedule. Whether your goal is to lose weight, firm and tone, or to build muscle, will build a custom designed program just for you. Visit: and begin meeting your fitness goals today!

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