Healthy Children - February 2013


What Providers Can Do Regarding Childhood Obesity

Take Your Own Attitudes and Prejudices Seriously

Remind yourself and parents that kids’ weight, eating, and activity practices are complex issues- and that solutions are going to come from multiple resources.

Clarify Your Role as a Provider

Provide information as you are able. Parents and caregivers roles are to provide nourishing food and activity opportunities. The child’s role is to choose from the food and opportunities presented based on body cues, experiences, and knowledge or what his/her body needs to be healthy.

Get the Facts About Treatment Approaches to Normalizing Weight

Find out what research tells us about treatment approaches and exercise as it all applies to children. There is not much hopeful in terms of applying dieting principles to children’s weight concerns. In fact dieting is an identified springboard in full blown eating disorders and other problems. In addition kids of dieting parents have greater adiposity than kids whose parents don’t diet. Must approach with a “do no harm” edict.

Seek Out Opportunities in Your Daycare to Introduce and Reinforce Impacting Messages

Speak positively of bodies in general. Incorporate messages into your conversations that reinforce diversity in size and shape in nature, including human beings. Provide nourishing snacks and meals and make the parents aware of them. Display posters and photos of kids of all shapes and sizes doing active things, as well as on good nutrition.

Provide Health-Focused Rather than Weight-Focused Care

Focus on what health supporting impact you can have on children and their family lives. Identify what the child and/or family is doing currently that promotes self-respect, health, and happiness. Promote family activities, family meals, nutrient-rich foods, and eating for energy and satisfaction.

Interact with Kids in Ways that Reinforce Healthy Attitudes and Behaviors

Get outside, walk, stretch…do activities where you are both moving. Encourage children to participate in the process of meal time by contributing their ideas and energy to meal planning, preparing, and cleaning up.