According to an article from the August 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine, helping your child lose weight isn't as tough as you might think. An adult requires a deficit of 500 calories daily to lose a pound a week. Kids are luckier. The average calorie gap for a child to slim down, by eating less or exercising more, is just 64, according recent research published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. If U.S. youth can achieve that deficit, our childhood obesity rate would decrease from 16.9% to 14.6% by 2020.
Experts stress that your child's gap number is higher or lower; a doctor would calculate it based on your kid's height, weight, and activity level. Still, changes are small and easy to make. "I always tell parent, 'Never say never to a specific food,' "explains pediatrician Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D., head of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University in New York. "It's about being portion smart."