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Key Points for Safe Weight Loss for Children

  • All children and adolescents should be seen by a physician or dietitian before trying to lose weight. Children and adolescents need individualized weight loss plans that meet their growth and health needs while they lose weight. Adolescents should not put themselves on adult diets without first consulting a dietitian.
  • To lose weight, children and adolescents must have the active involvement and support of their families. Parents should praise, encourage and actively work with children and adolescents to pormote weight loss. Avoid criticizing, insulting or embarrasing children and adolescents about their weight.
  • Diet and lifestyle changes should be made in positive ways. Give children and adolescents choices about which low calorie foods they will eat and which physical activities they want to try. Praise good behaviors and good choices. Be pleasant but consistent in carrying out new rules.
  • Physical exercise is an essential component of any weight loss plan for children and adolescents, unless they have special physical or medical conditions that prevent exercise.
  • Some children and adolescents do not need to lose weight - they just need to stop gaining weight. Diet and lifestyle changes may still be needed in some of these cases. Consult a physician or dietitian for more information.
  • Children and adolescents who are very overweight may need structured weight loss programs to help them make diet and lifestyle changes. Ask a physician or dietitian for more information.