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What is the Safest Way for my Child to Lose Weight?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 26 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Lose Weight Weight Activity Food

Q.

What is the safest way to guide my 13 year old daughter into losing excess weight.

(Mr Dominic Power, 20 November 2008)

A.

Children should only lose weight under medical supervision, so the first step to take in helping your daughter shed unwanted weight is to visit your GP with daughter. Your GP will be able to advise you on whether or not your daughter is at a healthy weight for her size and age, as well as the healthiest type of diet for your daughter and your family as a whole. Undoubtedly this advice will include cutting out empty calories from fizzy drinks, sweets, pre-packaged food and most fast foods.

As a growing girl, your daughter needs to ensure that she has a full intake of all the necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that will help keep her at optimum health. This will not necessarily be the case if you choose a diet that is not meant for children. Instead, follow the healthy diet that your GP recommends or enlist the aid of a dietitian to help custom design a healthy eating plan for your daughter. Increasing your family's consumption of fruits and vegetables may be an easy way to help everyone towards better health.

In addition to following a sensible eating plan you can gently guide your daughter towards greater activity in an effort to lose weight. Helping your daughter to be active for at least 30 minutes at least three times per week should increase her heart rate and help her burn calories. These 30 minutes do not necessarily need to be at the same time so, for example, three 10 minute blocks of activity can still make a difference even if your daughter doesn't have a 30 minute block of time to spare. Activity does not necessarily mean traditional exercises either. Walking around the neighbourhood, gardening and cleaning the house can all be activities that burn calories, so finding out what your daughter likes to do and helping her make that activity more intense or physically active can be a great way to work up her enthusiasm for it.

Cutting calories in food and increasing calorie burn through activity is an easy recipe for anyone to lose weight. However, because your daughter is young, these steps should only be taken under the supervision of a medical professional.

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