No kid wants to be “the fat kid” in a group of kids. Why? Unfortunately, fat kids get bullied. If you’ve never been overweight, you don’t understand, but if you were, you do.

For several reasons, ranging from the foods we consume to the sedentary lifestyle smartphones and tablets have created, about 1 in 3 kids today in the U.S. are technically overweight or obese. This is an alarming statistic and it should bother you.

Gone, it seems, are the days when kids ran around playing outdoors all day. Instead, they’re in their rooms with eyeballs glued to a screen playing video games, scrolling through social media posts, or watching TV shows. Meanwhile, the old tradition of a family dinner around the table where people talked, laughed, and ate food prepared “from scratch” seems to have passed society by, especially among the younger generations.

Why is it a bad thing for a kid to be overweight/obese? If they are, that means bad things could be in their future, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and bone/joint problems. Meanwhile, shortness of breath can make it harder to participate in physical activities their peers do, like playing sports. Perhaps the worst thing is the teasing and bullying. Obese kids are very likely going to be depressed, want to turn to drugs or alcohol to take away their pain, and/or develop eating disorders.

How can you help your overweight child lose weight? If you take the time to offer them support and encouragement rather than judgment and negative comments, that’s a start. There’s nothing worse than a parent telling a child, “You’re fat!”

Next, figure out a plan to get your child off of the couch and outdoors more, doing physical things. This might mean taking family hikes at the local park, going to the swimming pool together, and/or something as simple as playing catch in the backyard a couple times a week. Parents need to be involved in their kids’ weight loss– kids NEED a parent’s time, love, and guidance to lose weight.

Finally, just like with adults, what a kid puts into their body affects their overall weight. Now you don’t have to totally deprive a kid of candy and sweets. But you can limit their intake in a smart way. Furthermore, you’ll need to adjust the foods and drinks you have in the home that are readily accessible. Instead of bags of Fritos and boxes of Twinkies, you and your kid(s) can find and enjoy healthier options like carrot sticks and turkey slices.

Take a look at the online shop offering Dr. Barker’s Kids Health Kit here: