Overweight/Hates Sports?

Our 10-year-old son is overweight and hates sports. What can we do?

Ask him to accompany you on daily walks because you have decided to get more exercise -- and you would truly enjoy his company. Put the emphasis on "your" fitness. Keep sincerity in the desire to spend more time with your son. For obvious reasons never mention the walking is for his fitness as you will both be reaping the awards. By talking with him during the walks you may eventually build up his trust enough to learn the root cause of his overeating. - Greg E. in St. Louis, MO

Show him how to enjoy exercise without having him join an organized sports team. He could ride his bike, play at a park, swim or take a walk each day. If you have a yard, you could get him a puppy that he could run and play with, and take for a walk. His eating habits probably need to be changed to a healthier diet. Carob instead of chocolate, trail mix instead of chips, water instead of soda. This all can be done as a family as this way it takes the pressure off of him and you all can become healthier together. There is nothing sadder than a child that has to battle a weight problem. It will only carry over into adulthood. - Mrs. Mary in Bradenton, FL

Not all kids are into sports. Having said that, I bet you were only thinking "team" sports. Well, there are a lot of other activities that are physical that do not require a group! My son was not and still is not a "joiner." He much preferred activities that rely on an individual's skill. The YMCA, or your local community center, has some great ones that are inexpensive and fun. Try interesting you child in one of the martial arts that stress self discipline, fencing is a great way to learn coordination and balance, dance can increase a child's confidence, and yoga can teach mental flexibility, as well as physical. You want to not only increase your child's physical well being but also their self esteem. Most classes will allow a child to sit in to watch. This would give him a chance to see what's going on, while providing an opportunity to gauge his own interest. You might even consider joining. Nothing like a good example set by parents. - Darla Cook in St. Louis, MO

From Jodie: Wouldn't it be wonderful if parents everywhere stood up and said, "The world doesn't evolve around sports!" It's really OK if he doesn't like organized teams. Try this: Lay off of any comments concerning his weight. The kids at school are probably already teasing him. If you are truly concerned, ask your doctor to have a private talk with him. Our boys prefer a male doctor as it makes it easy when private questions come up regarding "boy" stuff. Getting him to eat healthier is going to be your first goal.

It's impossible to keep up with everything, but try to make a game out of it. He gets to write down what you eat and you do the same. Whoever comes up with the most veggies and fruits eaten in one week, gets to choose an activity. Emphasize the whole family getting healthy so he won't feel secluded and begin by serving more nutritious snacks and meals.

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