Childhood obesity programs can lead to sustained weight loss when treatment focuses on behaviour changes. There are several techniques available for behaviour therapy, including the following:
- Keep a daily food diary. Help your child record the type and amount of food eaten, when, with whom, and where it was eaten. This will allow your child and healthcare professional to recognize and eventually change eating behaviour patterns. For example, avoid eating while your child is watching television, doing homework, or playing games.
- Distinguish between hunger and appetite. Teach your child cues to control appetite and schedule meals regularly.
- Identify activities that will divert attention from food.
- Build self-esteem by changing negative to positive goals. Avoid weighing your child at home more than once a week, and focus on the changes you have made in behaviour rather than on the numbers on the scale.
- Reinforce positive new behaviour by offering rewards for behaviour and not weight loss. Avoid any food rewards – be creative!
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