FIT Connection for Kids: Healthy Weight
How eating, exercise, mood, and sleep all contribute to weight.
When you are overweight, it can be harder to live a fit life. For example, it may be harder to find clothes that you feel good wearing. It may seem harder to move your body fast or to be flexible. And it may be harder to be confident about yourself if you’re teased. It isn't fair.
Many things go into being overweight -- how your body works, what you're used to doing, and even the world around you. So the simple advice "Eat right and exercise" isn't the whole answer to a healthy weight -- or fitness. That's why the FIT Platform includes four parts -- FOOD, MOVE, RECHARGE, and MOOD.
How FOOD Helps You Be a Healthy Weight
Of the four parts of the FIT Platform, FOOD probably has the most direct effect on your weight. You are growing, so it's important for you to eat right and gain some weight. But if you eat too much junk food, you can gain more weight than you need. Eating more healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains (like brown rice and oatmeal) will help you feel strong and healthy.
These foods have lots of nutrients and things your body needs to grow. They'll help fill you up so you'll have less room for cookies, chips, candy, and other unhealthy food. And you won't get hungry again so fast.
How MOVE Helps You Be a Healthy Weight
You need calories to grow and to move your body. But if you eat more calories than you need, you need extra exercise -- or your body will turn those calories into fat. Moving your body also means building muscles and getting stronger -- exercise is really powerful!
Think about what you do after school and on weekends. Can you think of more ways to be active during the day? See if you can add a few more minutes of moving, or work a little harder. Try to breathe a little heavier, or sweat a little more. Pace back and forth while you're waiting for the bus. Do jumping jacks or toe-touches during TV commercials. Offer to take the trash outside. Small stuff adds up.
The bonus about exercise is that it also helps you feel good and sleep better -- which will help you eat healthy and move more. So it's really important to get enough physical activity every day.
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.