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FIT Connection for Kids: Healthy Weight

How eating, exercise, mood, and sleep all contribute to weight.

How MOOD Helps You Be a Healthy Weight

When people are sad or stressed most of the time, they don't care so much about being healthy. They are worrying about other things. So that can make it really hard to exercise and eat healthy foods.

Sometimes when people feel that they're overweight, their self-esteem is lower, maybe because they are not happy with how they look, says David Ermer, MD. He's a child psychiatrist with Sanford Health. Overweight kids might be teased or bullied because of their size, and that can be stressful, he says.

If you are getting bullied or teased, tell an adult you trust -- like a parent, a teacher, or your doctor. They can help you come up with a plan of action. But if you're just feeling down, there are things you can do to help make yourself feel better.

Make sure you do things that you enjoy, too. Buddy up with a friend to ride bikes after school -- you'll get to hang out and exercise at the same time. Maybe join a club or a group at school or a community center. Or put on your favorite music and dance and sing while you do chores. You deserve to be happy and healthy!

How RECHARGE Helps You Be a Healthy Weight

There seems to be a connection between not getting enough sleep and being overweight -- especially for kids. A study found that kids who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight by the time they reach 6th grade. Getting enough sleep can help you feel less hungry and make better choices when you eat.

How you relax also matters. Instead of sitting down and turning on the TV, you could play an active video game or take your dog for a walk. You'll give your mind a break, plus you'll be moving your body.

Fitness Is More Than a Healthy Weight

Better eating and exercise habits can help you get to and stay at a healthy weight. Finding healthy ways to rest and relax will help, too. And keeping a positive outlook will make it all easier. As Linda Bartholomay, LRD, a nutritionist at Sanford Health, says, "Fitness means more than having a healthy weight. Fitness is a feeling of overall wellness."

Remember that your body is growing and changing. You’ll go through growth spurts, so you might "grow into" the weight you have now as you get taller. You can find out how your weight and body fat compares to other kids like you with the FIT Kids BMI Calculator. If you think you're an unhealthy weight and should lose weight, talk with your parents and your doctor.

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Reviewed on March 13, 2012