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Jane850 11-19-2010 08:19 PM

Overweight kids
My 10 year old son is 5'2" and a chunky 130 pounds. He's good at athletics so I thought he'd be "safe" from the the cruel remarks of kids. Turns out he's getting teased a lot these days. It breaks my heart... He's always been a big kid - he came into this world at 10 pounds and hasn't stopped gaining ever since. He eats nutritious meals, but it's the snacking where he really puts on the pounds. Even when I keep the cupboards bare of junk food, he'll stuff himself with saltine crackers or something else carby. The fat comments are really getting to him lately and so the last few days he's been wanting to "do Fit Day" with me. I think it's great and he's learning about how many calories/nutrients are in different foods. My concern is that I really don't know how many calories he should have. I don't know if the Fit Day calorie recommendations are appropriate for kids. When I look on line, most resources advise against having kids go on a reducing diet and that it's better to have them grow into their weight. That makes some sense to me. Some info leads me to believe that it can be detrimental to brain development to try and lose weight. Does that apply to a 10 year old??? I don't know. I appreciate any thoughts you might have.

almeeker 11-19-2010 09:00 PM

I don't have a lot of advice on what is appropriate for a 10 year old nutritionally, but I have a similar issue with a 9 year old DD. My current strategy has been to limit or eliminate as much junk food as possible in our house. The snacks we have in the house are granola bars, low fat popcorn, yogurt, cereal (10g of sugar or less), fresh fruit and whole grain crackers. We don't feed the kids fast food very often, only once every 6-7 weeks when we have to travel to grandma's house, and not even then if I get half a chance to pack a snack/lunch bag. My other strategy has been to have her in a sport year round, in the fall she did soccer, now it's swim club, when that ends soccer will be back on and over the summer we swim a lot and go horseback riding.

I also try and make sure that she gets some sort of physical activity outside of her sports practices, at least twice/week. So we go to the pool for extra practices and we take walks in the park, and once it snows we'll be hitting the slopes (which is a huge burning workout). On Thanksgiving we're going to walk a 5K Turkey Trot in the morning, so we've been going to the park to get in condition for next week. Another thing we've been doing is limiting screen time, Not more than 2 hours/day. This is pretty easy during the week since they have school all day and sports in the evening, it's harder on the weekends, but it keeps the kids off the couch, and I'm all about that. I have flat out refused to buy her a DS, the last thing she needs is another sedentary hobby. We have a Wii and that will have to be enough game for her.

tandoorichicken 11-19-2010 10:43 PM

Is your son into any type of sports? If you get him into a jr football league he'll put on some muscle instead of fat, and that size would make him an impressive linebacker and get him some respect instead of cruel teasing.

At home, my best suggestion would be to save the carbs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (sweet potatoes are a good, nutritious carb option) and keep better snacks like celery/peanut butter, carrot sticks, turkey jerky, and nuts like peanuts/almonds/pecans to munch on in between. The problem with saltines is you're never satisfied with just one, and if you're not hungry and you eat a saltine cracker, suddenly you're hungrier than you were before.

At his age (and all the way through high school) I remember eating like the world was ending. I'd regularly put away a pound of food at each meal. That's just how us guys grow. I wouldn't recommend trying to cut back on calories, but quality of calories is important. Make sure vegetables are at the centerpiece, then protein, then everything else. That way, he'll be getting all the vitamins/minerals he needs to grow, and minimize junk calories that his body will just turn to pudge.

Jane850 11-21-2010 02:05 AM

Thanks you two for the suggestions. He is in sports year round but we need to do more to encourage additional exercise. I need to be much more diligent about what kind of snacks are in the house. He tends to sneak food - so if there are only healthy choices, then at least he'll have healthier snacks. Thanks again!

almeeker 11-21-2010 12:30 PM

Originally Posted by Jane850 (Post 26136)
Thanks you two for the suggestions. He is in sports year round but we need to do more to encourage additional exercise. I need to be much more diligent about what kind of snacks are in the house. He tends to sneak food - so if there are only healthy choices, then at least he'll have healthier snacks. Thanks again!

I think you must have the boy version of my DD, sneaky sneaky sneaky that girl and smart enough to hide the evidence.

Today I'm going to make homemade granola, and have the kids help me. It's always a great way to discuss nutrition and portion sizes. Does he like to cook?

I would agree on getting rid of the saltines, sounds like it won't take long for the box to be gone. I do buy my kiddos crackers, but only whole grain and/or low fat. And usually I get out the cottage cheese or rf peanut butter to put on them.

Jane850 11-21-2010 03:34 PM

Making granola together is a great idea - I've never tried making it. My son does like to cook so that is a really good idea. I've been reading the insulin resistant diet by Cheryle Hart and have been talking to him about the need to combine protein with carbs. If we make granola/nuts and put into pre-portioned packages, that would be an easy snack to "sneak."

LisaAnnie 11-21-2010 08:42 PM

I think it would be OK for your 10 year old wants to track his actiities and calories on Fitday, and use the journaling like a diary. It wouldn't necessarily mean that he would need to be on a reducing diet. If anything, it might help him to feel in control and be cognizant of his calorie balance and nutritional goals. Also, if he's getting teased at school, the diary outlet might be healing. Rather than input his foods and activities after the fact, it might be more enlightening for him to use it in advance, as a planning guide.

heather.72 11-25-2010 02:49 AM

My oldest is 16 and has been overweight since he was about 9. He is tall and big boned but he was still way overweight. At 14 he was borderline for high blood pressure. He is finally "growing" into his body but only because he was recruited after 8th grade for the high school football team. His size was a big plus as a 9th grader. Now the other kids have caught up so it is good that he is now in shape and more muscle than fat. It has really helped him focus on his health though and they do work them year round in both weights and cardio. I don't really like how much they lift when their bodies are still growing but I am just a mom.

Anyways, to get on topic, he did use fitday for a few days. It was amazing how bad his diet still was. He was eating over 3000 calories with 80 % being fat. I think it was a real eye opener for him. He still sneaks food - i find the wrappers in his room but he has cut back on how much.

Talking nutrition and health is always worthwhile. And some of the fitday extras are great for that - like the nutrition %. I think that made the biggest impact on my monster.


spence11 12-14-2010 09:25 PM

Been There - Just Left
I'm 18, so I'm just barely an adult. I gotta tell ya, I was ALWAYS a chunky kid. My parents had me on an exercise regime when I was 7 and I started dieting around the age of 11. Not that I had any major health problems (and I, too, was athletic)- I just had a bit of extra baggage.

Now let me tell you: it's a good thing that he notices the comments. Even though other kids might be hurting his feelings, it will make him more willing to change. I say: yes, put him on a fitday challenge, but make it easier on him than you would on an adult. Give him a little more leeway, and if you can, engage him in more physical activities. I'm not saying to make him walk 2 miles everyday (that's what I had to do), but play frisbee or badminton with him.

1 last thing: he might "hate" you for it at first (I say "hate" in parentheses because he wouldn't ever really hate you, he just might be angry or resentful). I certainly wasn't fond of my parents, after all- dieting and exercising isn't as fun as watching Rocket Power, but he'll be grateful eventually. I know I'm grateful.

canary52 12-15-2010 02:41 PM

My daughter is 16, overweight, getting more so and I'm so worried about her. She is militantly anti-diet, thinks Fitday is stupid, and is so busy with extra curriculars (drama, singing, guitar, drivers ed, etc.) that she has stopped exercising. She's hyper sensitive about criticism so broaching these topics is tough because she thinks everyone is on her case and criticizing her all the time but she's a total sugar junky and I know she's not happy. I try to keep good food in the house but she will seek out and find junk. Also she will eat two huge bowls of pasta with tons of cheese, two to three large bowls of cereal etc when she eats meals. Short of wrestling her to the ground, tying her up and feeding her less, I'm at a loss. She has some health issues and there's everything in my family: high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, you name it. But if I mention this, she just says wryly thanks for the crappy genetics, ma.

So I'm in no position to offer advice but sure could use some.

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