At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM we know from experience that patients who are overweight or obese have a much higher incidence of foot pain and podiatric disorders. The eating habits formed in childhood very often carry over into adulthood. In honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we’d like to offer the following do’s and don’ts to help your children avoid a weight problem that can lead to serious medical and psychological problems.
Don’t: ignore excess weight gain in your child or try to make them feel like it’s “no big deal.” While talking about weight issues certainly requires sensitivity, if you don’t have the conversation with your child you are opening them up for a host of physical problems such as diabetes, heel spurs and heart disease. In addition, children who are overweight are teased and bullied way more often than average weight children and this can lead to depression and serious emotional problems.
Do: make unhealthy foods, sugary drinks and high fat and calorie snacks unavailable in your home. By not stocking your pantry with those types of foods your child will naturally eat less of them.
Don’t: forbid your child to eat certain foods—this will only make them want them more. Instead, encourage them to make sweets a “once in a while” treat. Offer tasty but healthy alternatives such as fresh and dried fruit, low fat yogurt, cheese, hummus and nuts.
Do: encourage your child to drink water instead of soda or high calorie fruit juices. Studies show that sometimes people think they are hungry when in reality they are thirsty.
Do: set time limits on the amount of time your child is allowed to play video games, surf the net, watch TV or play on their phone. These are sedentary activities that don’t burn calories.
Do: model healthy habits. It’s no use telling your child they need to be more active if you spend all afternoon in front of the TV. Your child will learn by your example and, even better, if you participate in physical activities with them. Not only will you both get exercise but it will become a way of sharing time together that you will both look forward to.
If you are concerned that your child’s weight is causing a foot problem, contact our Somers Point office by calling: (609) 927-4894 so that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco can take a look and determine if your child has a foot disorder that requires treatment.