Nearly 1 in 3 children and teens in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and some studies suggest that the numbers are even higher for youths in foster care. As a foster parent, you may be concerned about how you can help vulnerable children with weight loss. Consider these suggestions as you’re deciding what to do.
Be Supportive of Weight Loss
As much as you want to help, you also need to accept that you can’t control your foster child’s body. Losing weight is their decision, and they may even rebel if they feel pressured. Your role is to provide support and guidance with their overall wellbeing in mind.
Focus on Health
You’ll probably get better results if you talk about being fit and healthy, rather than losing weight. Find ways to make nutritious food and exercise feel like fun. Prepare delicious meals at home loaded with vegetables and fruit. Play sports and go for hikes. Your foster child will be more likely to learn positive lifelong habits and be less tempted to try risky crash diets.
Make healthy rituals a family project. Keep junk food out of the house as much as possible. Take fitness classes together.
Let your foster child know that they are worthy of love and respect just the way they are. Help them to develop a positive body image. Then, teach them about their body and how to take care of it. Give them sincere compliments and encourage an active lifestyle.
Talk With Your Doctor
Being overweight or obese can pose serious health risks. Talk with your foster family’s doctor about your concerns and options that may help. You may also want to consider counseling, which could be beneficial if your foster child is being teased at school or seems to have issues with emotional overeating.
Learn More about Weight Loss in Foster Care
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