Kids Can't Keep the Weight Off

The pursuit of weight loss is a big deal. Millions of dollars and a whole-lot of effort are being expended in order drop a few pounds, and apparently, it’s all in vain. At least as far as kids are concerned. According to the Associated Press, kids just can’t keep the weight off. Here’s more:
A team led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that obese children who lost weight kept it off if they were in a maintenance program, but its effectiveness waned over time.

The research involving 150 overweight 7- to 12-year-olds is one of the first large-scale studies to evaluate the long-term effects of weight-loss maintenance strategies in children.

The study, which appeared in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, also is the first to look at whether heavy kids benefited from being encouraged to play with more physically active peers, cope with teasing, and develop an improved body image.

"We know from the adult field that the biggest challenge is not losing weight — it's keeping it off in the long term," said lead author Denise Wilfley, who heads the weight management program at Washington University.
Now, regarding kids, the answer is clear. It all starts with the parents. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, you want your kids to eat healthfully and stay fit? It’s all up to you. He talks about it in great detail in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Take a look:
The number of children who are overweight in the United States has more than doubled during the past decade. Social forces, from the demise of cooking to the rise of fast food, as well as dramatic increases in snack food and soda consumption, have led to the most overweight population of children in human history. Added to this dietary disaster is television, computer, and video technology that entertains our youngsters while they are physically inactive. Unless parents take a proactive role in promoting and assuring adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle, you can be sure the children of American will continue this downward spiral into obesity and ill health. Obese children suffer physically and emotionally throughout childhood and then invariably suffer with adult heart disease, and a higher cancer incidence down the road…

…Parents must be responsible for our health and the health of our children. We parents have a huge responsibility and can help guide and shape our offspring into health and happy adults, or, through abuse, neglect, ignorance, and even convenience, we can damage their future. We know with certainty that the foods we feed our kids during childhood play a large role in dictating their future health…

…It is important to realize that it is never too late to teach your children the importance of eating healthy. As you learn, share enthusiastically with them. Work on improving your diets together. If your child is a teenager, let her read what you are reading. You may want to add that it will help their complexion and body shape. Even teenagers will make beneficial improvements in their diets when presented with compelling reasons. I have lectured to high school assemblies many times and am always impressed by how interested, enthusiastic, and willing to make changes teenagers can be. Research supports this willingness of adolescents to make significant dietary change when presented with accurate compelling information.1
If this seems hard or too much responsibility, consider these tips, they’ll help you out. Here’re Dr. Fuhrman’s secrets to getting your children to eat healthfully:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.

2. Offer and feed a wholesome diversity of natural foods, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit, while giving each child as much latitude as possible to eat what they prefer.

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.
Sure, it might be a little hard work and require some thought, but isn’t your children’s health worth it?
1. Stevens VJ, Glasgow RE, Toobert DJ, et al. Randomized trial of brief dietary intervention to decrease consumption of fat and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Am J Health Promot 2002;16(3):129-134.
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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Janna - October 12, 2007 9:58 AM

A little off-topic, but this shows how parents choose to remain ignorant about their children's weight and healht...

Christy - October 28, 2007 12:09 AM

Thank you! What a well-established point you have made! I am writing a college paper concerning childhood obesity and my belief that is a form of child abuse. As a parent of two myself, I feel I can speak from an emotional and experience-based point of view. These children will have a lifetime of problems, even if they manage to lose the weight. They will still have to deal with the social ramifications as well as the constant struggle to STAY's easier to gain weight than it is to lose it. If the parents take the time to pay attention, maybe even walk or ride a bike with the kids, they would not have to complain about how lazy and stubborn the child is. Set the example!!!

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