Featured Fitness Food Fun Feelings For Parents Para Padres

Should Kids Go on a Diet to Lose Weight?

Did you know that you've been "on a diet" all your life? It's true! That's because a diet is made up of the foods you eat all the time. Right now, your diet might be healthy or not so healthy. Eating a healthy diet and getting lots of physical activity are great ways to feel good about yourself.

Some kids are on special diets for health reasons, like being allergic to milk or wheat. And lots of people try weight-loss diets. You probably know some adults–maybe even your parents–who complain about their weight and how they should be on a diet. If you think your weight isn't healthy, read on to find out whether this kind of dieting is OK for kids.

Is My Weight Healthy?
Maybe you think you weigh too much and should go on a diet to lose weight. But how do you know for sure? It's hard to know what body shape and weight is just right for you because there is no "perfect" body shape to compare to. For example, some people just have broader body shapes or bigger bones than other people.

Don't think you need to look like the stars on TV or in the movies. Look around at all the different body shapes of healthy and active people you know. This might help you to feel better about your body just the way it is. Are you still worried that your weight isn't healthy? Then it might be good for you and your parents to talk it over with your doctor.

What Your Doctor Can Do
Your doctor can size up your body shape based on your height, weight and age. He or she will let you know if everything's OK.

Or, your doctor might say you and your family need to make some changes in the way you eat and how much exercise you get so you won't gain any extra weight. Your doctor might have you talk with a registered dietitian (RD), who can help you make some good changes.

Eat and Exercise Right!
Doctors and RD's usually won't tell you to "diet" or cut back on the amount of food you eat because you are still growing. They might suggest that you watch how big your portion sizes are and how many portions you eat, and that you choose foods with fewer calories more often. Following MyPyramid is a good way to eat healthy.

It's also smart to get lots of physical activity. Do things that make you breathe hard and sweat a bit. Try lots of different things so you don't get bored. There's plenty to do by yourself, with a friend or with a big bunch of people.

Try These Little Changes–They Count A Lot!

  • Cut down on your TV, computer or video game time by 30 minutes a day.
  • Just hanging around at recess? Suggest a game of soccer or any fun game that gets you and your friends moving.
  • Always eat breakfast and make it a good one with fruits, grains and milk or yogurt.
  • Choose snacks such as fruits, bagels, yogurt and raw veggies.
  • Drink lots of water all day long.

To learn more:
Am I Too Fat or Too Thin?

Reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Panel, 2006