Overweight comes from imbalance between energy that we get from food and energy that we use to do physical things. If more energy comes in than comes out, the excess is stored as fat.
Although people come in different sizes and shapes, we all need to lead healthy lifestyle to ward off chronic diseases.
The best way to help your son to be healthy is to teach him to make healthy food choices and help him find enjoyable exercise, such as riding a bike, swimming, or walking. Children should participate in vigorous physical activity on a daily basis for at least an hour. Also, they should eat a fruit or a vegetable with every meal and snack, and substitute juice and pop (empty calories) with 24 oz of milk a day and water.
Playing sports certainly helps in weight loss, but that's only part of the battle. You and your son should also focus on healthy eating habits. If he's already practicing them, good for him! But if you think his diet could use a little shaping up, there are tons of healthy and tasty recipes on this site that the two of you could cook together. Start by centering his diet around vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. You don't have to tell him it's health food -- if you cook it right, it will taste just as delicious!
As far as motivating him to play sports, it might take finding something outside of traditional sports that he's interested in. Expose him to a wide variety of physical activities by getting him involved with local teams and groups. There are tons of ways to be active, and you can bet there are societies, clubs, and teams devoted to all of them -- wrestling, roller derby, self-defense and swing dance are all unconventional activities that many people enjoy and use as their main outlet for physical activity.
The answer to this question is partly dependent on the age of your son. If he is somewhat overweight but still has several years of growth ahead of him, then weight loss may not be necessary, but rather weight maintenance (don't let him gain more weight) is preferable, letting him grow into his weight. Whether he has to lose or just maintain his weight, lifestyle changes as described in the prior answers are essential. And these often have to start in the home -- get rid of the high calorie snacks, chips, etc that contribute to extra calories. No soft drinks of any kind (including power water, etc) -- only drinks should be water and nonfat milk (for calcium and vitamin D). Get walking -- to/from school if possible, to markets, etc. Participation in sports is great but not necessary and not always possible.
Guidance from a pediatrician and/or a dietitian familiar with weight loss programs can be helpful. It's important also not to precipitate any future eating disorders in your son -- thus guidance can be very helpful.
You have such great answers here, but I would like to make a untraditional suggestion.
If you can, purchase the Wii Fitness Plus, you will also need a Balance Board. It's a wonderful video game that really gets kids and adults up and moving.
It provides opportunity to participate in sports without actually having to participate in activities that you otherwise would not. Such as skiing, cycling, tennis, skateboarding, martial arts, boxing, hoola hoop and more. There are strength building activities, balancing and even yoga.
My kids, 8 & 5 love it. We also use it. They are exercising, but don't realize it because it is so much fun. You can set it for routine workouts, it keeps record of calories burned, weighs you, provides body mass index, offers tips and advice. It's great to keep you healthy while having fun. You can really work up a sweat if you'd like.
You can add as many games as you like, such as bowling, billards, fishing, racing cars, snowball fights. It just seems endless to possibilities. Basically all games will have you moving, which is helpful.
I have found that many community hospitals and schools are now offering sound nutritional guidance programs for kids. In our area you can request consultations or enroll in programs that help children understand more about food, healthy eating and exercise.
Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. Only in rare cases is being overweight caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal problem. A physical exam and some blood tests can rule out the possibility of a medical condition as the cause for obesity.
Although weight problems run in families, not all children with a family history of obesity will be overweight. Children whose parents or brothers or sisters are overweight may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves, but this can be linked to shared family behaviors such as eating and activity habits.
A child's total diet and activity level play an important role in determining a child's weight. Today, many children spend a lot time being inactive. For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television. As computers and video games become increasingly popular, the number of hours of inactivity may increase.
Obese children are at risk for a number of conditions, including:
High blood pressure
Early heart disease
Skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne
Hi, I have a 9 year old that hates sports. He wants nothing to do with any sport IF it's a team sport. At our YMCA they have a weekly class called Boot Camp that is an hour of nothing but physical fitness for kids. Fun activities! They also started a running program for kids that gets them ready to run a 5K. I didn't give him a choice and signed him up for it and he found he liked it a lot. It's too hot for a summer session but as soon as the fall session starts up he has asked to do it again. He really enjoyed this. He also likes to go hiking. Swimming is another great way to get some fitness. See if he will do things like this that are not team sports it has helped my son. Do family challenges see who can do the most jumping jacks or jog in place the longest. Let him keep a log with who is in the lead. Along with getting some exercise I have cut his juice intake back and started giving him more water. In the evenings he always wants a snack and instead of chips or ice cream he now gets hummus and pretzels, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, yogurt, fruit, cheese sticks, or granola bars. Take Care!