View Full Version : Reason for obese kids

11-12-2003, 06:00 AM
I was just looking up some info on how much I should feed my new daughter and I came accros this article from usnews. com that says
"Today, in the face of a huge increase in childhood obesity, kids are bombarded by an unprecedented avalanche of food advertising. Indeed, food marketing aimed at children increased from $6.9 billion in 1992 to $15 billion in 2002."
and "Overall, children's caloric intake increased by about 80 to 230 calories a day (depending upon age) between 1989 and 1996, says CSPI."

(full article here: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/031117/health/17food.htm)

My daughter is only 3 weeks old right now, but when she gets older I'm going to try to find a way to block commercials from any TV shows she watches.

I have a bad feeling that it's going to be pretty difficult to raise kids with good eating habits due to all of the temptations that can be found everywhere.

Does anyone have any advice on the subject?

11-12-2003, 09:04 PM
I read the link. It is all the rage these days to demonize the corporation culture we live in, and it is generally justified, but I think an often overlooked factor in childhood obesity and diet related health problems is the laziness and or lack of knowledge on the part of the parents. Yes - your kids are vulnerable to marketing, but training them to understand it is bullshit is part of a parent's job. You cannot keep them from it. I will forego a further rant on that specific point in favor of also indicting peditricians and the standard nutritionist propoganda.

You have a lot of years to worry about those problems, anyway. Right now, you probably just need sleep if your infant is anything like the standard three week old.

Permit me to share my own experience with infants / toddlers and nutrition.

My son was a few ounces shy of ten pounds and 22.5 inches in length at birth. That is a big baby by any standard. He clocked in at the 95% percentile for both height and bodyweight.

For the first six months, things went very well. He ate every two or three hours. He was breastfed most of the day while I would give him formula at night and sometimes when I had the graveyard shift. Basic stuff - babies are pretty much self regulating with regard to nutrition in abscence of any health problems. Anyway, he remained at the 95% in both height and bodyweight until around the time we started solid foods (beyond cereal) at approximately six months.

The introduction of solids created a lot of problems that boiled down to him not wanting to eat solids. This problem was exacerbated by trusting the pediatrician whose advice amounted to "lace everything with sugar." Of course, as is obivious in hindsight, once you do that the baby will eat a little bit more, but only the sugary stuff.

At its worst, he got down to around 50% in bodyweight and height. That was around 14 months old. At this point we ditched that pediatrician and I researched the issues myself. There is not a plethora of good information out there, but I was finally able to put together a workable plan that has yielded results - at 22 months he is at 90% height and bodyweight. He looks great and is ahead of his neural development milestones by months.

What we did was to cut all refined sugar entirely from his diet. The only sugar he got came from whole milk and fruit.

The other key thing was to literally fill his entire tray with every different food we could find and let him pick about and play in it. Eventually we were able to determine what he would and would not eat. An example tray could include:

Diced broccoli, asparagus, peas or carrots
Mashed sweet potato, or white potatos
Chopped chicken breast or chicken hot dog
Diced lean steak or roast beef
Whole wheat pasta (he only eats rotini though)
Brown rice
Whole wheat bread with butter
Strawberries (he loved these), blueberries, peaches, plums, apricots
Tablespoon of flax oil and almond butter
Scrambled eggs (in whole with butter)

It took time to pan out, but I am so happy I took this route. He has a great diet now and hopefully this pattern will extend throughout his life.
It is rewarding to know that he has a taste for salubrious food. He even drinks some of my MRPs. I generally make them from cooked oatmeal, flax oil, raw almond butter, protein powder and glutamine. He sits on the counter with me, names each item as it goes in the blender and partakes of a few ounces. It is a fun dad ritual as well.

Anyway, these are my findings, based on my empirical data, that may help you out.

For toddlers:

Baby / toddler metabolisms are kind of like a super-mesomorph on a mega dosage of steroids. You probably cannot overfeed them.

Don't be afraid to give them as much as 1000 to 1500 calories daily, they will not become obese as long as it is not garbage. This can 50 -100 times bodyweight.

Up to 50% fat is fine, especially if a good deal is from EFA or poly / mono unsaturateds. Because of the 50% fat, you can really pack in a lot of calories with nut butters and oils. This is really key because their stomachs are so small and those foods are very nutrient dense.

It will be easy to get enough protein into a toddler's diet (based on bodyweight).

Feed em every two to three hours; important because their metabolism is so fast and their stomachs are so small.

Don't ever force them or get stressed out about it if they do not eat - that is a major no - no. Just take the tray away and go play. Try again when they indicate hunger.

Make a big show of eating the same things you want them to eat and making ooohhing and aahhing noises. They imitate their parents - end of story.

Try and make the entire meal period as ritualized as possible, so they know it is time to get down to business and stuff their faces. Sit in the same place, play the same music, at the same times, say the same things, etc.

Of course they should have lean protein and unprocessed carbs, but for optimum development of the organs, nervous system, skin, eyes, and brain make sure there is a steady supply of whole eggs and EFA oils. This can be tough, but is worth it. I made eggs for his breakfast for months before he would touch them.

Also, although it is more costly and more work, I would reccomend 100% organic fruit, veggies, grains and especially animal products. That goes for mom too, if the baby is breastfed.

Another key thing was teaching him modified sign language starting at seven months. This will allow him to communicate things like temperatue, desiring more, all done, hungry or not hungry, etc.. This can be a lot of work but is well worth the effort. There is a significant amount of research indicating signing babies are better readers and communicators later in life. Not to mention, avoiding frustration tantrums because they cannot communicate what they want.

Sorry I rambled so much. I realize these issues are a bit down the road, but I hope my labor can make it easier for other parents who are concerned enough about their children to inconvenience themselves and do things the right way.

Good luck.

11-13-2003, 12:18 AM
Good post!
Thanks for the info. I too am a firm believer in the fact that parents need to have a big role in what their child eats, I just wish the media would make it easier on us, although there are a lot of good programs on that I've seen so far.

I'll definitely use the advice.

Thanks again,

11-17-2003, 02:04 AM
Parents should also have a big role in what their children do with their time. How about them not watching TV? Not only will they miss the advertising, they'll go outside and do what kids are supposed to do--play sports with their friends, ride bikes, etc. It amazes me how parents use the TV as a babysitter. Has anyone else noticed that childhood obesity has increased in direct proportion to the proliferation of more channels on TV, satellite TV, more video games, etc?

11-20-2003, 01:52 AM
Does anyone know of a good site for nutritional information (calories, macronutrient ratios, etc) for kids of different ages? I have kids ranging from 8 - 18 & very different body types.

My 14 year old daughter is thin but kind of flabby, my 11 year old daughter is overweight, my 8 year old daughter is average, & my 13, 15 and 18 year old sons are "stick people".

I would like to at least try to get my overweight daughter to thin down some but I don't know how many calories etc, someone that age should be eating.

I obviously know exercise is important along with a "clean" diet but it's nearly impossible to get them to eat properly, especially when I don't know what "properly" means for kids.

Any info would be useful.

11-20-2003, 03:23 AM
As far as caloric guidelines, the general recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics are:

Infants: 80-140 kcal/kg/day
Children: 40-90 kcal/kg/day
Adolescents: 30-50 kcal/kg/day

A "child" is generally defined as 1-12 years of age, and an "adolescent" 13 to 19.

Macronutrient ratios are essentially the same as those you would use for yourself, but don't restrict their fat intake as much as you might. For example, whole milk is fine until they're 18. If a child has a weight problem, seek medical attention, because there are definitely resources out there if you feel a bad situation may be developing.

11-27-2003, 06:41 AM
Thanks Erp7e

11-28-2003, 06:43 AM
The other thing is last time I checked, the parents do the grocery shopping. If the parents aren't eating junk food (and I assume this applies to all us healthy people on the board), it's not in the house, and the kids don't eat it.

Soapbox alert. My parents had no soda or ho-ho's or doritos in the house, and I was limited to one TV program per week on the only TV in the house, a black-and-white in the basement with the ghettofied rabbit ears (and this wasn't the olden days, I'm only 26, and we weren't poor) and no video games. All I did as a kid was play sports. Man I was pissed when mom wouldn't buy me that Nintendo, but an interesting coincidence that I grew up to love physical fitness and health so much??

11-28-2003, 04:32 PM
I was a bit worried about this topic with my daughter and how I would raise her to not be obese. In my household growing up, my parents owned a couple grocery stores. They grew up in China/Hong Kong malnourished and in extreme poverty so they vowed their children would never starve....so we didn't. Anyway, long story short 4 of the 5 kids (me included) experienced overweight issues, and I've been the first one to actually make good progress on this. I won't go into all the stuff a parent shouldn't do because that's already been covered by the various posts.

However, I will share a little of how we are raising our children. My daughter is 3 yrs old and not overweight. She is very active, runs, plays. We go cycling & walking as a family. I take her to swim. We haven't yet enrolled in any fitness classes for her like karate, but plan on doing this when she's 4. She sees fitness as a part of her life. She is so curious. Her daddy is a big cycling (road) fan. I'm huge into working out, and sometimes take her with me to the gym.

She does watch videos, but we greatly limit this time and the frequency. We also have 2 dogs that she plays with a lot.

As far as food, both her dad and I are into healthy eating....so, she gets good food and not junk at home. At the sitters, the food is also healthy....just not quite as healthy as we do at home. At home, we are into natural eating...meaning we try to stay away from refined sugars, white flour products, processed foods, go organic with the fruits & veggies when we can, and hormone free meats (when we can).

We take a lot of effort for our health, and it's just a part of our daughter's life. Our son will experience the same and he is getting the benefit of my better eating through breastfeeding.

Now, when my daughter is with my siblings, that's another story. I have tried to provide them with food to give her, but invariably she still ends up eating the junk they give her. We also limit her visits with the siblings that have less healthy eating & physical activities for this reason.

When your baby is breastfeeding or formula feeding, it's fairly easy to control what is given to them. Once they are able to eat regular foods as others and when others care for them, it's a whole lot harder. I expect when my daughter goes to school, getting her to eat the better stuff will be a lot harder. She does like junk food a lot more than the healthy stuff. It's just now we can limit that.

We try to instill healthy habits with our daughter, and she is great with eatng fruits and some veggies and drinking water...however, if she had her choice, she'd rather have McDonald's and soda. So, the thing we see is that if the primary foods are healthy and she sees her parents as good healthy role models without being obsessive or overbearing with the healthy stuff, I think she will have a far greater chance at not being overweight, physically active and making better food choices. Parents have really got to be good role models for their children.

We do make desserts & stuff like that, but I usually make the healthier versions. Hopefully her tastebuds in the end like these better. At her age, we try to simply explain to her the results of healthy and unhealthy eating. Does it register? I'm not sure, but time will tell. Be good role models for your children.

11-29-2003, 03:31 AM
Great post, Molly. The world needs more parents like you and your husband.

11-29-2003, 09:25 AM
Something else that we do to help our daughter is to never force her to eat after she has had enough (my parents always forced us to eat well beyond when we'd had enough by guilting us into it....look at all the starving children or we work so hard to put food on the table and you're wasting it....blah, blah, blah). We teach her to get what she is able to eat and not more. It's better to go back for more food than to waste. If she should greatly misjudge, we say that will be food for her next meal or we discard depending upon the situation. She's only 3, but 3 year old do take in a lot.

I can't stress how important it is for parents to role model healthy eating and physical activity to their children. They will see this more than the words you say (if they should be different). Our daughter sees me taking my vitamins/minerals, etc. and ever since she could, she's been taking her own stuff. Every day she asks if she can have her vitamins & minerals and she's been doing for the past 2 years. She flosses & makes her own bed, too. It's a huge game and fun for her because it makes her feel grown up. Why does she do these things? Well, we do it and she wants to be like us.

And, just like everything, make it fun and not seem like work, even if it is. There will always be things that try to sway your child to do whatever is NOT in their best interest. Teach them to make good decisions. Yes, our daughter does periodically eat junk, but others have commented on how much she loves things like fruits, water, and other healthy foods. Will it always be like this? Probably not, but at least she has a good foundation.
Make it fun to where they want to make right decisions. Explain to them on a level they can understand why what you're doing is healthy.

My daughter asks why all the time. She knows what salads are because she sees me making my weekly lunches....or my breakfasts. I talk to her simply about macronutrients, the various ratios in simple terms. I cannot believe how much she soaks in. She'll tell others that nuts are good fats. She also knows that you can't eat all that you want and I even see her counting out her nuts. It's sort of funny because she mimics what I do. If you, as the parent has bad habits....guess what? Your children are going to gravitate toward those habits.

I'm probably rambling because I feel long winded at 1:25 am. It's my son's feeding time. Will end here.

11-30-2003, 06:14 AM
I nominate Molly for mom of the year award.

11-30-2003, 06:17 AM
I'll second that.
There's a lot of good posts here and I'll take any advice I can get to be a better parent for my new daughter and any more that we might have. :)

11-30-2003, 05:23 PM
My kids eat very well. They get tho odd "treat" of their choice but they are at the point where they enjoy eating the good stuff and they have absolutely no cravings for junk. It totally rests on the parent on how their children eat just like a childs behaviour is molded by parents as well.

I watched 60Minutes a few weeks ago where they did a study on 10 fast food restaurant chains and health violations. They interviewed a woman whose child almost died from eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. He made it through, but while they interviewed her, she said that everytime they are at a fast food restaurant, her son's poisoning is at the back of her mind.........well you can figure out whatI am getting at here.

Its like the 300#+ woman I saw who ordered a big greasy burger with everything on it, with fries and gravy, then orders a diet coke and requests a pamphlet on the calories and ingredients because she's watching what she eats.......lol

So anyway, alanjlamore, your daughter will only learn what to eat and how to eat from you. Parents are ultimately responsible for their children, nobody else. Congrats BTW!

12-02-2003, 02:13 PM
Being in the hospital and seeing how many parents simply do not raise their children at all and give them zero direction, I'm really glad to hear people like alan, plague, and molly actually are raising their kids right.

It extends beyond eating. My wife's a high school teacher and she actually has parents asking her to tell THEIR KIDS to take a shower because their hygiene is so bad. A mom who can't make her own 16-year-old take a shower. What's wrong with this picture?

You guys made me a little less cynical. For a second.

12-04-2003, 08:40 PM
Thanks for the compliments about the mommy thing. I only do what I do because I love my children, as well as my husband and myself. Any parent who truly felt that would do similarly.

It all really boils down to are you willing to do the work necessary & learn to improve to give your child the very best opportunities possible and role model healthy behaviors? It really is a lot of work and sacrifice. What may hold true may not be valid, so you must adapt. The root cause of obesity, what I believe, has more to do with a mental/emotional imbalancing issue. If you can fix those things, the poor eating and lack of exercise becomes a moot point. The information exists to lead a healthy life. Itís the war between what we know to do and the emotions/feelings behind the logic that eventually wins, unless we choose to deal appropriately and permanently with them.

I could totally go on about this issue, and did, but thank goodness for the good ole delete key. Iíll spare everyone the rhetoric and soapbox. Gotta look at the whole picture, do a root cause analysis and address the root of the problem.

12-04-2003, 08:47 PM
Being in the hospital and seeing how many parents simply do not raise their children at all and give them zero direction, I'm really glad to hear people like alan, plague, and molly actually are raising their kids right.

It extends beyond eating. My wife's a high school teacher and she actually has parents asking her to tell THEIR KIDS to take a shower because their hygiene is so bad. A mom who can't make her own 16-year-old take a shower. What's wrong with this picture?

You guys made me a little less cynical. For a second.

Hey thanks for that. It's like Molly says, it's alot of sacrifice. And it depends on how selfish parents are on whether their children really do come first, or the parent. It's easy for me, I look at my parents, and do the exact opposite of what they did, so it's pretty easy to do the right thing for my kids.

12-05-2003, 01:36 AM
I'm there with you Plague. I do a lot of things the opposite of my parents, or perhaps totally different direction. There are some things they did an excellent job on, and I want to instill those things in our children....just a better balance.

12-05-2003, 01:45 AM
what a coincidence, I saw a 280-pound 5th grader today. He has DM type 2. Mom and Dad were right there at the bedside, concerned...and going to the cafeteria to get him doughnuts.

12-05-2003, 12:32 PM
That really is so sad and ridiculous. That should be called child abuse, if you ask me.

12-05-2003, 02:01 PM
I think so. If you can't keep your child relatively healthy and of normal weight, in school, and bathed, I think that should be child abuse. But considering that we don't even prosecute child molesters that harshly in this country, I can't see that happening anytime soon.

12-05-2003, 02:19 PM
Don't get me started on that topic. If you feel this strongly now about all this, I can't wait to see what you'll be like when you do have children. LOL!!!

You're an early riser. :D

12-05-2003, 02:43 PM
I'm sure my kids won't be perfect, but the point is I'll try and I'll care. These parents don't care enough to tell their kids "no."

Early riser? These days I'm getting to the hospital by 5:00 am every day. Only 2 more weeks of general surgery and it can't finish fast enough.

12-05-2003, 03:02 PM
I think people's definition of caring varies greatly. Saying no at times is pretty hard. I never thought I would have a problem with that, but sometimes I do. My daughter is very cute, bright, and can be quite manipulative. She's only 3. When I see those big brown eyes, long eyelashes batting back at me as the soft ringlets fall around her face and as she gives me a big hug and tells me I'm the best mommy in the world....sometimes you just melt. Of course, I'm a woman and maybe more easily fall for stuff like that then a man. My husband typically doesn't fall for that, so, it's good that we make such a great team. One would think with my serious demeanor that I would have no problems, but when it comes to your own kids, sometimes all logic is thrown out of the window.

Fortunately for my kids I am such a health & exercise freak, and that by my very nature I am anal retentive, persistent, and willing to do the right thing even if it means the longer, harder route. We live in a society where it is "instant" everything.

I like your attitude and I can understand about getting to work at 5 am. That's most of my work mornings. But, I like getting to work before most. Get so much done before 8 am than most people do all day. :-) I enjoy reading your posts.

12-05-2003, 05:08 PM
I'm a woman and maybe more easily fall for stuff like that then a man.


That is not true at all. When my daughter tells me to go stand in the middle of a busy highway for her......then that's what I do!! When she asks for Mcdonalds, then that's where I draw the line dammit! :D

12-06-2003, 07:26 PM
Watch out for the big ole trucks!!!! Otherwise it's pancake city. :D

08-11-2004, 07:22 PM
I thought this might be a good place to post this.
I was wondering if anyone knows of any good ways to keep their kids excersizing.

I mean ways to keep it fun. Are there any good excersize videos out there that anyone recomends (for those days they can't go outside)?

I was also thinking of a night time routine to do with my kids (I only have one 10 month old right now, but I'm trying to plan for the future;).

I was thinking of doing some crunches on the floor with her (or I should say "them" in the future) and some squats with body weight, some push-ups... easy stuff. I just don't want to over do it or under do it.

I'm thinking that more bodyweight excersizes and aerobic stuff untill around age 13-15ish. Then I'll try getting them into a light weight training routine.

Any suggestions?

08-12-2004, 12:49 PM

There are an infinite amount of stuff you can do to get your kids to exercise. Exercise is a regular part of our lives and synonomous for fun. I've never been one for videos. That just seems boring to me, but hey, for some it's great. I prefer the interaction.

Many communities & cities have lots of activities for the kids from infant all the way to adult. Check those out. Many of the parks & recreational centers also have scheduled activities.

For our 4 yr old, we go regularly to swim lessons, gymnastics, different preschool activities that combine exercise with other fun stuff like crafts, imaginary playtime, etc. I belong to Lifetime Fitness and they have an awesome setup for kids that make going there for them very fun, not just babysitting time. You might want to find a gym like this (go to lifetimefitness.com and you can see a little of what their gyms are like). They also have tons of classes. The monthly membership and prices for the classes are expensive, but I think well worth it. Our daughter little loves and constantly begs to go to the gym.

Then, there are plenty of outdoor things you can do. Our daughter learned to rollerblade at 3 yrs old...bicycle...we go to the waterparks, the school or park down the street to just run around either as a family or with our dogs.

I think I probably said in my earlier posts, parents need to role model exercise and how fun it is. If they exercise begrudgingly, this will also set a poor example to you children. Make it daily fun!!!


08-14-2004, 05:00 PM
Molly has some great ideas there. I would have to agree about the videos; there is a generation of kids learning everything they know from videos/DVDs. Scary.

At younger ages, it might be better to not make exercise structured. No workouts, no routines. We adults do that stuff because we are disciplined, have goals, etc. When you're a kid, sports and exercise are just for fun. Play catch with your kids, play b-ball, etc., and as Molly said, and you obviously do, set the example of exercise. I've never seen a fat kid with exercising parents. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. If you do everything you're doing, and keep your kids away from too much TV, I'm sure everything will fall into place.

As I've said before, and I'm sure this is true for most of you on the board...my parents never had to "make" me exercise or play sports...they both set the example and I naturally was drawn to sports and physical activity.

Bodyweight exercises are a great idea too--get them doing bw squats, pushups, pullups, etc. Until they can do a slow-tempo one-legged full squat for 20 reps in their early teens...why add resistance? So I agree with you there.