Fat Kids: Small Changes 
Can Give These Kids A Better Chance

Being a parent of fat kids can be tough. But there is good news.

  • Researchers find that the families of fat kids can start by making small changes every day to help turn around kids being overweight and reversing child obesity.

Just to keep things in perspective, you should know the good news:

Good News for Parents of Fat Kids

"Children are better behaved than they used to be, BUT they are packing on the pounds," according to a Washington study Report on America's Children which says that kids are:

  • smoking less
  • drinking less
  • violent crime is WAY down
  • BUT kids are fatter!

THE BAD NEWS:

There are a lot of fat kids, but also, a lot of PARENTS are in denial, says Dr. Mark Tremblay, chairman of “Active Healthy Kids” -- there's a “real disconnect” on the part of parents!

Why Parents Need To Make Changes NOW

We're all in this together.

Experts say that the obesity epidemic of fat kids is simply because we haven't adapted since times when food was hard to get so that people burned thousands of calories working or finding their next meal.

Today, overweight kids tend to do little more than lie on the couch or bed, inseparable from their screens. Visits to the kitchen are often the only break.

  • Some of today’s children are grappling with heart disease before their teenage years are finished.
  • There is also type 2 diabetes and fatty livers in kids. According to the journal Pediatrics, 6.5 million US children have fatty livers.

A fatty liver is when liver cells are gorged with fat, like a stuffed goose, explains Dr. Brian Mc Crindle, a professor of pediatrics.

“Fatty liver,”or “foi gras” is what happens to a goose when you force-feed it, and stuff it full of food. This happens to "stuffed" fat kids too!

  • WHY? “We live in a toxic nutritional environment that causes fat kids,” says David Katz, director of medical studies in public health at the Yale University of School of Medicine,

“It is a sea of calories in which we are drowning. We are all in the same sinking ship in a high-speed, high calorie world.”

Here Is Something You CAN Try At Home

Making Small Changes CAN Give Fat Kids A Better Chance

  • Having only ONE less candy bar OR soda a day, AND walking an extra 2,000 steps every day has been found to prevent excessive weight gain in children.

Dr. James Hill, of the University of Colorado Health Sciences, set out to find what families can easily -- that the kids will go along with -- to prevent kids from bulging at their waist lines and gaining too much weight.

A group of over 200 families, all of which had at least one overweight child, aged 7 to 14 years, were assigned to do the following:

  • One half of the families were asked to make two changes:

1) increase their physical activity by walking an extra 2,000 steps per day

2) eliminate 100 calories from their daily diet

  • By the end of the six-month study, the children in the group that made small changes had a decrease in their average body mass index — a measure of weight that takes height into consideration.

How to Get Fat Kids to Be More Active?

How to get fat kids away from their screens and off the couch?

  • Providing a safe place for unstructured play is what ‘s missing for many families and for all kids, not just for fat kids. Olympic medal winner and mother, Silken Laumann has a web site and book that are a great resource that encourages safe neighborhood activities.

Here are ideas for how to include all kids, especially fat kids.

Laumann has found that it can be as easy as knocking on several neighbors’ doors to make one night a week an ongoing supervised “Park Night” at a neighborhood playground.

She gives the example of one mother who started a “walking school bus” by walking her kids to school and picking up others along the way. Everyone has fun, including kids who would otherwise get a ride to school.

For safe neighborhoods and fostering unstructured play, get Laumann’s book:

Child's Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Play in Our Families and Communities

Forget the DIET SODA, Drink Water

“INVISIBLE” LIQUID CALORIES in beverages, say researchers, play a big role in child weight gain because people don’t realize the calories that are in these drinks.

These drinks also leave kids hungrier than food does, for the calories consumed.

By 2001, soda, juice, milk, beer and other beverages accounted for 21 per cent of the calories consumed in the US, which was a 16 per cent increase over 20 years, according to Barry Popkin, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: Although everyone eats artificial sweeteners to lose weight, the research shows that they increase insulin, so that in the long run they increase the appetite and therefore cause people to GAIN weight.

Here's the NO-NO List & Why

To get kids eating healthy, you may need help:

  • RED LIGHT foods include white carbs, trans fats and junk food because they eventually make all of us fat AND sick.
  • Chips, commercial cookies, crackers, fries, donuts, white rice, and white bread are all included.

These tend to have a high sugar, low nutrition and low fiber content.

They spike your blood sugar, MAKE YOU FAT and set kids up for LIFE-LONG health problems.

Find healthy snack recipes for kids instead! Or just snack on nuts, veggie sticks, fruit, air popped popcorn, and dark chocolate.

With creative healthy eating activities for kids, they CAN become motivated for themselves!

Why A "Red Light" BAN on DIET Soda?

More bad news especially for TEENS: a habit of diet soda will not keep you slim nor healthy! Why?

DIET SODA DISCOVERY:

A study monitored the weight and soda-drinking habits of more than 600 normal-weight patients aged 25-64.

When the researchers followed up on the patients some eight years later, they discovered:

  • Participants were 65 percent more likely to be overweight if they drank just ONE diet soda a day compared to if they drank none.
  • TWO OR MORE low - or NO calorie soft drinks raised the odds of becoming obese or overweight even higher.

Those who drank diet soda had a greater chance of becoming overweight than participants who drank regular soda.

Why Diet Soda “Makes You Fat?”

The researchers figure that diet soda can't in itself be blamed for weight gain.

They offer a few possibilities, and you can discuss these as part of a healthy eating activities for kids:

  • Someone drinking diet soda may feel make up for those calories with another high-calorie food.

While you are satisfied by the sweet taste of diet soda in the short term, the brain isn't really fooled and still craves calories for energy!

  • Studies also show that people who drink a diet drink before a meal will eat MORE high-calorie foods than those who do not.

So, with BOTH diet sodas AND sugar-sweetened drinks, including fruit juices, leading to weight gain and obesity, you might wonder, "What is safe to drink?"

The answer, of course, is water, milk or milk substitute.

NO Calories, MORE Sweet: Why use Stevia?

What are the best options for sweets?

For healthy snack recipes for kids, get used to using stevia – a natural no-cal sweetener.

It has been used for centuries in South America, for decades in Japan, but kept very quiet in the U.S. and Canada.

Stevia is a natural sweetener 300 times sweeter than sugar. With NO CALORIES.!!!

Children can use stevia without health concerns:

  • Stevia does not cause tooth cavities
  • Stevia extract is suitable for diabetics and those with high blood pressure
  • Stevia is heat stable and thus could be used for cooking and baking

Why Make Small Changes Now?

Our fast paced, high calorie world is dangerous for kids who often are glued to their screens with only minor interruptions of visits to the kitchen.

  • Dr. David Katz, an outspoken critic of fast-food culture and the high calories that go with it, says that some fat children are showing real signs of heart disease before their teenage years are finished.
  •  “We’re all in the same sinking ship,” says Dr. Katz of the Yale University School of Medicine.

He warns that these kids are facing a shorter life span than that of their parents.

SHAPE DOWN Workbook for Families

Find out if there is a Shape Down Program in your area for getting support as a family:

  • There is a workbook a fat child can follow from week to week and another one for parents.
  • The workbook stresses that people come in all shapes and sizes, and that families can re-discover the pleasure of eating healthy foods.
  • Helping parents to be both authoritative and nurturing for working through emotional issues along with giving eating healthy advice for kids:

Hard Making Small Changes?

If the problem is too big, too frustrating, too anything to begin NOW to make even small changes, you may want to find out how to overcome obstacles.

Here's help for how to deal with fat kids in your life:

We hope that you have found our research helpful.

Small changes in activities, and getting a healthy breakfast for kids is the best way to stop cravings!

Get them involved! Making healthy meals for kids is a challenge!

Find more Healthy Eating Activities for Kids. Good luck, and let us know what worked for you.

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