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How can I help my overweight child become healthier?

At the University of Illinois, researchers have identified three main risk factors for childhood obesity: lack of adequate sleep, increased parental body mass index, and restriction of the child’s eating habits to control weight. There are ways parents can make changes in their child’s diet to improve this issue.

Here are a few tips to help your overweight child become healthier:

  • Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep. Research has found there is an association between lack of adequate sleep and obesity. Stick to a healthy sleep routine to reduce your child’s risk. Set an early bedtime and have a structured nap schedule during the day.
  • Keep in shape yourself. Parents with a high body mass index (BMI) tend to have children who follow in their footsteps.
  • Don’t restrict your child’s eating habits. In other words, don’t put your toddler or preschooler on a diet. Automatically labeling certain foods as “bad” will only increase your child's desire for that food.

With a few changes, everyone can benefit as you adopt a healthier lifestyle for the whole family.

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