Diet and Exercise: The Dynamic Duo

Cutting calories without adding activity is a recipe for eventual weight gain in children and adults alike. Your child's metabolism will recognize the game and slow down to conserve energy, resulting in a return of the weight and a more difficult time losing the pounds the next time around.

Fad diets promote the idea that weight loss is all about the food. Don't let your child get sucked into that line of thinking. Exercise is just as critical as food in efforts to reach a healthier weight. Encourage physical activity by making it fun — remember that most younger kids like to get out there and move.

As for the food, low-calorie, nutrient-dense fare is your child's best option. Try to limit “diet” foods that are heavy on preservatives and artificial sweeteners and light on protein, vitamins, and minerals. Healthy food choices are discussed in more detail in Chapter 6.

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