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Q. "My son is overweight at age 10 and I am concerned about weight-related health problems as he gets older. Overall, he has a healthy appetite and is fairly active, but he cannot seem to keep the weight off. What can I do?"
A. Many parents avoid addressing their child's weight because they believe their child is going through a "chubby" phase. This may be true, but it's important for parents to recognize these health issues and take preventative measures. First, consult your family pediatrician to discuss the best approach. If your son is fairly active, encourage him to increase his activity level through group sports or outdoor activities. Current recommendations state that children should strive for at least 30 minutes daily of moderately intense physical activity. Regular physical activity will not only lower your son's risk of obesity-related diseases, but it will also make him feel great! You should focus on small, realistic goals for him so he does not become discouraged. Your son most likely wants to lose weight, so reward achievements with non-food prizes, such as a trip to his favorite sporting event. It is also best to involve the entire family so he does not feel singled out.