Ask the Expert: How Can I Set Limits on My Child's Diet without Being Too Restrictive?
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When should parents seek help when it comes to their child’s weight?
When the child’s BMI (body mass index) is above the 85th percentile, that’s when parents should start looking at options to help. You don’t want to wait until your child is obese or morbidly obese. As soon as you think there might be a problem, there probably already is. Talk to your doctor and get help. If you put them on a diet program, make sure it’s run by doctors and dieticians. Kids have different caloric and nutritional needs at all different stages. You don’t want to sign your kid up for Weight Watchers, even teens, because they need different nutritional needs while they’re still developing. It’s very important you’re working with a physician who understands those needs.
When parents control their child’s diet, they tend to be overly restrictive. Kids do need a certain amount of calories to support normal development, and boys are different than girls. You want to work with someone who knows what they’re doing to help support healthy weight loss.
Joanna Dolgoff, M.D., is a pediatrician, child obesity specialist, official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the author of “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right” (Rodale, 2010). Dr. Dolgoff has offices in Manhattan, Queens, and throughout Long Island. She lives in Roslyn with her husband and two children, ages 7 and 9.