The New York Times had an interesting article last week under the Patient Money/Personal Business section. It discussed the reality that when a child or children in the family are overweight (not the whole family, just specific individuals), the whole family still has to engage in change. Why did this topic find its way to the business section? Because the contention of many people grappling with obesity is that healthful change costs money - more than they can afford. So the article pointed out that obesity and its accompanying chronic health issues costs A LOT more money later on if you do nothing.
So first of all we need to begin to realize that if one child in the family is obese, you cannot expect this kid to go along with dietary and exercise changes as a solitary experience. Most of us adults don't have the willpower to sit and watch others gorge while we diet. We typically abandon the diet either in the moment, or we yo yo diet as an attempt to deal with temptations. A kid should be given the kind of home environment support he needs to stabilize his weight or lose weight. That means the whole family joins the experience. Let's also point out that even the most metabolically gifted people i.e. skinny kids, can still have health issues like diabetes, cholesterol problems, hypertension, related to food choices, even if they are not overweight. Let's also agree that skinny kids can grow up to be overweight adults, especially if they don't learn good nutritional and exercise guidelines. Maybe you were lean as a kid and now you're overweight. You have to recognize that you are probably raising your kids, knowing that their destiny will be the very same because of the way you stock your frig, pantry and expose them to fast food. Why do we think that eating fast food is an American rite of passage anyway? For that matter drinking soda seems to be one too - why else would we give 2 year olds sips of soda???
Let's also realize - and I alluded to this in my blog about Michelle Obama's own wake up call - that our kids are surrounded by other overweight kids, so we assume their largeness or major weight growth patterns are normal. We also, as parents, struggle to see any inherent "bad issues" especially if they might reflect on our own habits and patterns. But consider this.
Why do kids need pantries filled with numerous processed food choices - why aren't two or three choices enough? Why do we not sit down with our kids and talk about health and food - it won't create eating disorders if the topics discussed are framed around health and energy and performance? Why don't many of us realize the importance fof family meals? And if we ourselves are overweight, why is it a shock when the pediatrician suggests that our kids have a weight issue - after all it is pretty obvious that the same habits that cause adults weight gain, will cause children to gain weight as well? Why are a pediatrician's medical comments suggesting changes at home, often received like a parenting indictment? It's really not.
Are your kids overweight? Are you finding it too difficult or expensive (or both) to seek help or change?
Next up - Changing your home and your habits
Published On: March 03, 2010