Childhood obesity

How to tackle obesity

Make simple changes to your child's lifestyle

The idea of putting your child on a diet may not be appealing, but think of it as a lifestyle change. In most cases it just involves making simple changes to your child's eating habits and getting them to engage in more physical activity.

Changes to eating habits


  • Set a good example with your own eating habits
  • Provide meals and snacks at regular times to prevent 'grazing' throughout the day
  • Make mealtimes an occasion by eating as a family group as often as possible
  • Get children involved in preparing food as this will make them more aware of what they are eating
  • Encourage children to 'listen to their tummies' and eat when they are hungry rather than out of habit
  • Teach children to chew food more slowly and savour the food, as they will feel fuller more quickly and be less likely to overeat at mealtimes
  • Encourage older children to keep a food diary, recording what and when they eat. It's important to be aware of snacking 'danger times' and find strategies to divert attention away from food, or towards a healthier option.


  • Allow your children to eat while watching TV or doing homework
  • Keep lots of high-fat, high-sugar snack foods in the house
  • Make outings for fast foods part of the weekly routine

Physical activity

  • Gradually increase your child's physical activity, such as brisk walking, to at least an hour a day
  • Encourage walking to places such as school and the shops, rather than always using the car
  • Suggest going to the park for a kick around with a football, or a game of rounders, cricket or Frisbee.
  • Visit a local leisure centre to investigate sports and team activities to get involved in
  • Make exercise a treat by taking special trips to an adventure play park or an ice skating rink, for example
  • Involve the whole family in bike rides, swimming or in-line skating.


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