Obesity is one of the most serious health epidemics facing our society today with one in three children currently overweight or obese in the UK.

If your child is very overweight, there’s lots you can do to help them become a healthy weight as they grow.

Very overweight children tend to grow up to be very overweight adults, which can lead to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Research shows children who achieve a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn, and are more self-confident.

They’re also less likely to have low self-esteem and be bullied. As a parent, you can help your child become a healthier weight by encouraging them to be more active and eat well.

Listen to your child’s concerns about weight. Overweight children often know they have a weight problem, and they need to feel supported and in control of their weight.

Let them know you love them, whatever their weight, and all you want is for them to be healthy and happy.

Here are five key ways to help your child achieve a healthy weight:

  • be a good role model
  • encourage 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of physical activity a day
  • keep to child-sized portions
  • eat healthy meals, drinks and snacks
  • less screen time and more sleep

If your child has a medical condition, the advice in this article may not be relevant. Check with a GP or hospital doctor.

One of the best ways to instil good habits in your child is to be a good role model.

Children learn by example. One of the most powerful ways to encourage your child to be active and eat well is to do so yourself.

Set a good example by going for a walk or bike ride instead of watching TV or surfing the internet.

Playing in the park or swimming with your children shows them being active is fun.

Any changes you make to your child’s diet and lifestyle are much more likely to be accepted if the changes are small and involve the whole family.

Overweight children don’t need to do more exercise. Their extra body weight means they’ll naturally burn more calories for the same activity.

All children need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health.