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Child weight loss

Here’s some advice, videos and tools to help your child lose weight.

However, your child is far more likely to succeed with some extra guidance and support – click here to find out about our free and friendly child weight management services.

Call us now on 01473 22 92 92 or contact us via other means by clicking here

BikesYour childs weight If you're overweight, losing weight will bring you a range of important health benefits. The key to success?

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BikesGet active with your kidsif you're a healthy weight is to use the Body Mass Index (BMI).

Physical activity helps children grow strong bones, maintain a healthy weight, and discover the world around them. Best of all, it's great fun.

All children should be physically active for at least one hour a day. You can help by encouraging your child to find activities they enjoy, and building physical activity into family life. Most children love running around a park or playing in a playground.

One reason why physical activity in childhood is so important is because it helps your child to maintain a healthy weight. 

But that's not the only reason: physical activity is part of the way children discover the world, and themselves. It helps build strong muscles and healthy bones, as well as improve self-confidence. 

You can find advice on eating well and getting active as a family on the Change4Life website.

Bristol University's professor of exercise and health sciences, Ken Fox, has 10 suggestions that can make exercise fun for all the family. 

Ten activity tips for children

1. Walk or cycle to and from school with the kids as often as possible. Read about the health benefits of cycling.

2. Build a den or treehouse with them in the school holidays. Or, under supervision, encourage them to climb a tree or two.

3. Go roller skating, rollerblading or skateboarding, indoors or outside. In winter, go ice skating. Kids also love scooters.

4. Do an activity challenge together, such as working towards a fun run or a walk for charity. Find out about charity walks in your area.

5. Take the dog for a walk. If you don't have one of your own, ask to borrow a neighbour's or friend's dog and take it for a walk.

6. Support your kids in sports, clubs or any other activities that may interest them. Joining a weekend club sport ensures commitment to a team and regular exercise. Find all kinds of sporting facilities in your area.

7. Find time every weekend to do something active with your children. Play frisbee or football in the park, go trampolining, or try indoor rock climbing.

8. Fly a kite. The Kite Society of Great Britain can point you to a number of groups that regularly meet for special flying days with experienced members who offer advice and assistance. Some also run kite-making workshops.

9. Try a beach holiday. When they hit the sand, children find a multitude of ways to exercise, including games, swimming, and plenty of running around. Or try an activity-based holiday. 

Read more about healthy holidays with children and activity holidays.

10. The National Parks website has lists of events such as guided walks and children's fun days for fresh ideas for active days out.

BikesPhysical activity for children under 5 So much is said about losing weight that it can be hard to sort truth from fiction. Here's the truth about weight-loss myths.

How much physical activity do children under 5 years old need to do to keep healthy?

Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

For this age group, activity of any intensity should be encouraged, including light activity and more energetic physical activity.

The amount of physical activity you need to do each week is determined by your age. Click on the links below for the recommendations for other age groups:



Babies should be encouraged to be active from birth. Before your baby begins to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time. Once babies can move around, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment. For more ideas, see Keeping kids active.



Children who can walk on their own should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (3 hours). This should be spread throughout the day, indoors or outside. The 180 minutes can include light activity such as standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as well as more energetic activity like skipping, hopping, running and jumping. Active play, such as using a climbing frame, riding a bike, playing in water, chasing games and ball games, is the best way for this age group to be physically active.


All children under 5 years old

Children under 5 should not be inactive for long periods, except when they're asleep. Watching TV, travelling by car, bus or train or being strapped into a buggy for long periods are not good for a child’s health and development. There's growing evidence that such behaviour can increase their risk of poor health. Find out why being sedentary is bad for your health. All children under 5 who are overweight can improve their health by meeting the activity guidelines, even if their weight doesn't change. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, they may need to do additional activity and make changes to their diet.


What counts as light activity for children?
Light activity for children includes a range of activities such as:

  • standing up
  • moving around
  • walking at a slow pace
  • less energetic play

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What counts as energetic activity for children?
Examples of energetic activities suitable for most children who can walk on their own include:

  • active play (such as hide and seek and stuck in the mud)
  • fast walking
  • riding a bike
  • dancing
  • swimming
  • climbing
  • skipping rope
  • gymnastics

Energetic activity for children will make kids “huff and puff” and can include organised activities, like dance and gymnastics. Any sort of active play will usually include bursts of energetic activity.

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Bikesphysical activity for children & young people is said about losing weight that it can be hard to sort truth from fiction. Here's the truth about weight-loss myths.

How much physical activity do children and young people aged 5-18 need to do to keep healthy?

To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do three types of physical activity each week: aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activity.

The amount of physical activity you need to do each week is determined by your age. Click on the links below for the recommendations for other age groups:

Guidelines for 5 to 18 year-olds 

To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5-18 need to do:


Many vigorous-intensity activities can help you meet your weekly muscle- and bone-strengthening requirements, such as running, skipping, gymnastics, martial arts and football.

Children and young people should minimise the amount of time they spend sitting watching TV, playing computer games, and travelling by car when they could walk or cycle instead. Find out why sitting is bad for your health

What counts as moderate-intensity activity?
Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most young people include:

  • walking to school
  • playing in the playground
  • riding a scooter
  • skateboarding
  • rollerblading
  • walking the dog
  • cycling on level ground or ground with few hills

Moderate-intensity activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.

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What counts as vigorous-intensity activity?
Vigorous-intensity activity is associated with better general health, stronger bones and muscles as well as higher levels of self-esteem.

There is substantial evidence that vigorous-intensity activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate intensity activity.

A rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity is about the same as 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

There is currently no recommendation for the length of individual sessions of vigorous-intensity activity for this age group.

Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most young people include:

  • playing chase
  • energetic dancing
  • swimming 
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • football
  • rugby
  • martial arts, such as karate
  • cycling fast or on hilly terrain

Vigorous-intensity activity means you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

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What counts as muscle-strengthening activity?

Muscle strength is necessary for daily activities, to build and maintain strong bones, to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and to help maintain a healthy weight.

For young people, muscle-strengthening activities are those that require them to lift their own body weight or to work against a resistance, such as climbing a rope.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities suitable for children include:

  • games such as tug of war
  • swinging on playground equipment bars
  • gymnastics
  • rope or tree climbing
  • sit-ups, press ups etc. 
  • gymnastics
  • football
  • rugby
  • tennis

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities suitable for young people include:

  • sit-ups, press ups etc.
  • gymnastics
  • resistance exercises with exercise bands, weight machines or hand-held weights
  • rock climbing
  • football
  • basketball
  • tennis

Children and young people should take part in activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

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What counts as bone-strengthening activity?
Bone-strengthening activities produce an impact or tension force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength. 

Examples of bone-strengthening activities for children include:

  • activities that require children to lift their body weight or to work against a resistance
  • jumping and climbing activities, combined with the use of playground equipment and toys
  • games such as hopscotch
  • skipping with a rope
  • walking
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • dance 
  • football
  • basketball
  • martial arts

Examples of bone-strengthening activities for young people include:

  • dance 
  • aerobics
  • weight-training 
  • running
  • gymnastics
  • football
  • rughby
  • netball
  • hockey
  • badminton
  • tennis
  • skipping with a rope
  • martial arts

Children and young people should take part in activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

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A smoker's tale (video)Exercise for kids (video)Children need 60 minutes of physical exercise a day. In this video, find out how keeping them active can be a fun part of daily life.

Viewing video content in NHS Choices

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BikesHow healthy is your child (tool) Childhood is a great time to start eating healthily and keeping active. Establishing healthy habits early on can help to improve your child's quality of life in the future. Find out how you and your child are doing with this short quiz.

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