How to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

Dear Sara,

My four year old daughter seems overweight to me. She is thirty seven inches tall and weighs forty five pounds. I don’t want her to grow up with weight and health problems like me but she seems hungry and wants to eat often. How can I help her?

Dear Leslie,

You are right that your little one is overweight. At four years old she should be about thirty seven inches tall and weigh between thirty and thirty five pounds. Right now you have control over the food she eats. Try to educate yourself about the calorie count of different foods and when you shop look at the nutrition information on the labels of the food you buy. Kids like high sugar, high fat food once they are introduced to them. Your daughter may not be hungry as much as she is just craving sweets. The way to control this is just not to have these things in the house.

Something to keep in mind is that kids who sit and watch TV are not using up many calories. Make sure that your little girl is getting at least an hour or so of some kind of activity every day. She won’t be inclined to do this on her own so you will have to join her. You can take her for a walk and go to a park where she will have things to play on. Anything that will keep her moving.

The key to weight loss is fewer calories and more activity. You must be the role model for your daughter. She wants to be like you. If you sit and watch TV and eat high calorie snacks, this is what she will do. If you eat healthy food and get plenty of exercise she will follow your lead.

Good luck.