Goal setting is a critical strategy in weight management and should focus on both diet and lifestyle changes.
Establishing short-term SMART goals is a way to help children succeed. SMART provides the detail, support, and guidance children and parents need to stay focused on weight-loss goals.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-Bound. Here is a breakdown of each section:

  • Specific: Goals should be simple and defined.

  • Measurable: There should be evidence of a met goal.

  • Achievable: Goals should feel slightly challenged but still possible.

  • Results-focused: Goals should measure outcomes and not processes or steps. 

  • Time-bound: Goals should have a timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency. 

Here are some examples of how SMART goals differ from more general ones:

General Goal  Smart Goal
 “Keep your weight the same.”  “Can you commit to weighing yourself weekly?”
 “Cut out fatty foods.”  “Let’s change to low-fat milk.”
 “Eat new foods.”  “Strive to eat one fruit every day.” 
“Be more active.”   “Walk to/from school [x] days a week.”
“Limit TV and screen time to two hours a day max.”

The SMART goal worksheet can help providers draft goals for children and parents. Upon achieving some early success, SMART goal setting should occur at every visit to continue the child's progress.

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