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Childhood Obesity
June 21, 2006
2:12 am
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Anonymous
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I have a 6 year old niece who weighs more than 120 pounds!My brother in law and his wife allow this child to gorge herself on pizza and junk constantly,adn I am about at my wits end trying to hold my tongue.They are both picky eaters and bossy to boot in this family,and they just simply must assume that there is nothing wrong with a child who gets winded climbing into a chair at the dinner table.We went over to their home for dinner the other night,and I watched this child eat 4 tacos which were deep fried shells stuffed with greasy meat,about 1/4 cup of cheese each,and 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream EACH.One of my other family members said recently that my niece ate 2 personal pan pizzas to herself in the same day on a shopping trip recently,and I am always seeing this kid eating the most fattening junk they can get her to eat.They even deep fried tater tots and smothered them in gravy at Easter because supposedly "she doesn't like mashed potatoes".I know for a fact THEY don't like them,so why make something they don't like and have her eat that.My brother in law and his wife are not small people,so genetically,no one ever expected my niece to be skinny,but 120 at age 6?!?She is on the fast track to being a 500 pound teenager,and I am scared for her.Do I speak up and cause a huge family fight,or do I sit back and say "not my kid,not my problem"?

June 21, 2006
2:54 am
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mamacinnamon
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PO'd:

It's a shame when one of our own or any child suffers. Here is some info for you. You might want to print it out and leave it on her table or somewhere the child won't see it.

Childhood Obesity

Health Risks, Diagnosis and Treatment

Determining if a child or adolescent has a weight problem can be challenging. How do you know if the excess weight your child has is part of the natural growth process, and will your child just "grow out of?" How do you know if your child's weight may be negatively affecting his or her health?

Health Risks

Along with the rise in childhood obesity, there has been an increase in the incidence and prevalence of medical conditions in children and adolescents that had been rare in the past. Pediatricians and childhood obesity researchers are reporting more frequent cases of obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, asthma and hypertension that once were considered adult conditions.

Read more about obesity-related health risks for children and adolescents in the AOA Fact Sheet, Obesity in Youth.

Read about the relationship of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children at the CDC's Children and Diabetes web page.

Diagnosis

There are some signs that may help you determine if your child has or is at risk for childhood obesity, such as:

Family history of obesity.

Family history of obesity-related health risks such as early cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure levels, type 2 diabetes.

Family history of cigarette smoking and sedentary behaviors.

Signs in the child of obesity-related health risks from a pediatrician's evaluation including:

Cardiac Risk Factors. Studies of children with obesity show higher than average blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac output when compared to children without obesity.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors. This involves glucose intolerance and insulin levels that are higher than average.

Orthopedic Problems. Some symptoms include weight stress in the joints of the lower limbs, tibial torsion and bowed legs, and slipped capital femoral epiphysis (especially in boys).

Skin disorders. Some are heat rash, intertrigo, monilial dermatitis and acanthosis nigricans.

Psychological / Psychiatric Issues. Poor self-esteem, negative self-image, depression, and withdrawal from peers have been associated with obesity.

Patterns of sedentary behavior (such as too much television viewing) and low physical activity levels.
Taller height - children with obesity are often above the 50th percentile in height.

Smoking initiation. Research studies show that youngsters use smoking as a method of weight control. Parents, pediatricians and schools should work together to discourage smoking as a weight control behavior for three main reasons: a) smoking is not likely to be successful in controlling weight, b) smoking is itself harmful, and c) smoking is associated with a decrease in sound nutrition and physical activity patterns.

Treatment

An important part of treating obesity among children and adolescents is for parents and healthcare professionals to be sensitive to the youngsters and focus on the positive. Small and achievable weight loss goals should be set to avoid discouragement and to allow for the normal growth process.

Involvement of the entire family is also a motivating factor. Weight control programs that involve both parents and the child have shown improvement in long-term effectiveness compared to directing the program only to the child.

There are some structured weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig that allow older children and adolescents to participate with parental and medical permission.

Once the need for obesity treatment has been identified, your medical professional may suggest one or more options.

There are many many sites on childhood obesity. This site should give you so much reading it'll take a week. Tons of good info.

http://search.nlm.nih.gov/medl.....od+obesity

That is to the direct menu on childhood obesity. If it does not work let me know.

I personally don't think we should be putting our nose in others' business, but when it is at the cost of a child then the rules are out the window. Just make sure you have all the facts first. This bein in your family I'm sure you already have them. Was referring to my view on any situation.

June 21, 2006
8:41 am
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Anonymous
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Thank you for the info,and yes I am weighing this very carefully.This is what I am thinking has to be the issue.It is my niece's mother.She overfeeds my niece and lets her eat whatever and however much she wants as a compensation for her own depression and self doubt.My sis-in-law experienced a traumatic loss about 7 1/2 years ago.She lost her son after he was born 3 months premature.Then she got pregnant again less than 2 months after he died with my niece.She never attended a day of counseling or has coped with my nephew's death in any way.I lost a baby too once about 12 years ago,and I grieve every day,but I feel like she has thrown all caution to the wind so to speak to just let my niece do whatever so she is not the "bad guy".
My niece is a wonderful,beautiful girl and I never miss out on telling her so,but I am frightened for her,and I just don't know how much longer I can keep from talking about this problem with her parents.The family seems to have an "ignore it and it'll go away",or "if it isn't talked about,it doesn't exist" problem.These people have no shame whatsoever in pointing out your faults or talking about you,but don't even think about turning the tables on them type of stuff.A small tidbit concerning this came up the other night,but it doesn't even come close.I distinctly heard my sis-in-law say that she is going thru a "chubby" stage like all other little girls.My 10 year old has been thru this stage,as did I as a girl,and I have heard of this before..but for her to refer to 120 lbs. at age 6 a "chubby" stage,makes me want to strangle her becuase my niece is only going to get worse.

June 21, 2006
9:26 am
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jastypes
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I have an obese child. Have I overfed her? Probably. Did I do it intentionally? Absolutely not. I have weight and food issues myself. I have tried to teach my daughter that people come in all shapes and sizes, that she is perfect the way she is, and she is a child of the Most High God. I've also taken her to a nutritionist and a gym. We talk about eating healthy, even if we don't get it right all the time. We walk together. I cannot speak for what is going on in your neice's family, but I know that oftentimes the issues surrounding food and weight are very complex. It's never as simple as telling someone to stop eating junk food and get some exercise!

You mention that the child is 6 years old. Trust me, when she gets to school, her weight is going to become an issue with peers, friends, other children's parents, teachers, doctors, school nurses, etc. etc. We had Children & Youth in our lives for a while. They were in for other issues (mostly truancy), but they also offered services and helped with my daughter. They paid for the nutritionist and provided her with a gym bag of her own.

My daughter has lost 30 pounds this year (to my 11). She is still obese (over 200 pounds), but she is eating better and exercising regularly. But the most important thing -- and I cannot stress this enough -- is that her self-esteem is intact. She knows she is beautiful and valuable.

jill

June 21, 2006
2:36 pm
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Anonymous
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Jill,
My niece is already encountering troubles.She was enrolled in Kindergarten this last year,and my niece's teacher brought to my sis-in-law's attention that she is winded and not able to keep up physically with the other children.My niece even got in trouble at school for stealing sweets and snacks from the other children in the lunchroom.My sister-in-law was offended that the teacher tried to discuss my niece's problems with her,and she yanked my niece out of school a month early and took her to visit her grandparents out of state.I truly believe that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's poor eating habits and dislike of nutritious food is the biggest factor to why my niece is so heavy now.My sister-in-law is not stick thin to start with,and she just excuses my niece's food behaviors with she was born that way.Not true...she only got this way within the last 2 or 3 years.Prior to that,the main problem we all had with my sister-in-law was that she obsessively dressed my niece like a boy and refused to allow her to play with Barbie dolls or do anything feminine.She is still bad about having her wearing boys clothing,and now the weight issue to boot.My niece very much enjoys flowers,butterflies,and playing outside,and my brorther-in-law did put his foot down at one point for his wife to lay off the tomboy dress,but the eating habits are either going to kill my niece long before her time,or she will suffer in ill health...I fear.

June 21, 2006
3:01 pm
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jastypes
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I think the only thing you can do personally is if you ever care for the child, introduce her to healthy eating habits and exercise. You are not going to be able to change the mom. You can possibly report it to child authorities (pretty drastic and they might not interfere at this point anyway); or you can ignore it. You cannot change someone else's behavior. My family nagged me about my weight and my daughter's weight for some time. It made me rebellious mostly. There will come a point in the little girls' life when she will be responsible for her own eating habits and weight.

June 21, 2006
3:22 pm
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gofigure
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Jill,

How old is your daughter? I have an 11 yr. old who is 5 foot 3 and weighs 180 lbs. Unfortunately for her, I weigh about 110lbs and her younger sister is fairly petite. We are working on healthier eating habits and all, but she had hip surgery last december and doesn't walk great (she still walks like she's in pain, though she says no), can't really run and even has trouble riding her bike since her left hip socket is sort of deformed. It is so so so hard on her. Going clothes shopping can be a nightmare, with her ending up crying because things don't fit.

I think she eats to cope--it's her drug I guess in a family of addicts and recovering addict/alcoholics. I am not sure how to help her battle this, but your post is encouraging.

Thanks,

~go

June 21, 2006
3:39 pm
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jastypes
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My daughter is 12. She is 5'2" and currently weighs 260, after having lost 30 pounds. My own weight and food issues have probably made it easier on her. I'm 5'3" and weigh about 290. We could share clothes. I don't make a fuss about sizes or weight. I tell her they're just numbers. The gym we belong to has a pool. This is excellent exercise for people our size and probably people with hip problems. 🙂 We water walk mostly. I take an aqua exercise class weekly, and swim sometimes too. Amy's doctor is a great encourager. He is of the opinion, as am I, that anything physical Amy does is better than not doing something. The walks are good for us too, because we go at about the same pace. When we started, we could only go around the block. Now we can walk a mile! Since I don't believe in dieting, a book I love is called Intuitive Eating.

June 21, 2006
3:53 pm
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jastypes
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Oh, there are a couple of other things I've found to be encouraging. There will always be someone larger than you, and someone smaller. Unless, of course, you are in the Guiness Book of World Records. AND look around. There are beautiful people, thin people, rich people, who are unhappy, have unhealthy relationships, are dissatisfied with their lives, get depressed, feel hopeless, hate themselves, etc. etc. Amy's thin brother has type 1 diabetes, so she also sees that being thin doesn't necessarily make one healthy.
In sum, I've tried to teach her (and myself) to not obsess about how you look, but to concentrate on how you live.

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