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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Dec 28, 2010

December 28, 2010

Why Is Your Overweight Child Eating When Not Hungry

Usually children eat when they are hungry. If your child is looking for food as soon as he leaves the supper table, this indicates there is a problem. Reasons your child is eating all the time could be to fulfill an unmet need or because it is self-comforting. It could be for oral gratification because of a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or because he is stressed, depressed, angry or frustrated.

Where To Start

Start by bringing your child to your family doctor. Explain what you think is happening and follow through on the tests your doctor will probably ask your child to have. When any medical conditions are ruled out and you still feel your child eats when he is not hungry, continue looking for answers. Ask your family doctor to make appointments with other health care professionals who work with overweight children, such as registered dietitians, psychologists, and exercise physiologists.

Is This Really Serious

Your search for answers is very important. This unhealthy eating habit will lead to overweight and related health problems that may follow your child into his adult years.

The site states: “The number of overweight kids has increased a lot over the last 30 years. Today, 15% of kids ages 6 to 19 are overweight. That's bad news because being overweight can lead to health problems, like diabetes and heart disease.”

As your child progresses through school, being overweight is a terrible burden in terms of his own physical wellbeing and on his social wellbeing. It should not be this way, but overweight school kids are often the greatest victims of bullying and they experience all the heartaches bullying entails. Seek help for your child as soon as you notice there is a problem because the road before you see results could be a long one.

What Can a Parent Do On His Own

Parents know their child best and they are the ones who can observe them around the clock. To keep track of your observations, write dated, journal entrees that you can share with his/her healthcare professionals. When your child grabs something to eat between meals, jot down the events/activities going on or that are scheduled to happen soon.

Talk with your child to find out how he/she is feeling. Question your child about his day, about what is going on the next day, about his friends, about his classes and teachers.

Schedule a conference with his teachers to find out what is really going on in school. Share with your child’s teachers your problem and ask them for their help is solving it. Arrange to have chats with your child’s friends and their parents. Sometimes answers can only be found by adding many details to make a big picture.

Your child may eat primarily for oral gratification, rather than to satisfy any real, physical hunger. If this is the case, his overwhelming urge to bite or chew can be redirected to acceptable, safe chewables or at least to crunchy, raw vegetables that have few calories. Many choices of chewables are available in Special Needs Stores and online. Provide your child with sensory oral-motor tools to see if they can stop his unhealthy eating habit. Girl in photo is chewing on Kid Companions Chewelry

So you had a problem. You tackled it immediately. You sought professional help. You are not giving up before you see positive results. Throughout all this you remain your child’s strongest ally and supporter. This is what good parenting is all about…what more can you do?

Please add your suggestions on what else could be done to help such a child.

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