Overweight Children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering - I would have done a poll, but I don't know how lol. What do you all think about overweight children? I saw an episode of Dr. Phil the other day about this and I was so saddened by how these children are growing up unable to do things that the average child does, like run around outside, without getting out of breath. Really, it seems like child abuse to me. I grew up with such poor eating habits, I struggle with it all the time. I truly believe that food can be an addiction, and if you don't teach your children about proper nutrition from the start, they will form bad eating habits and it's just one more thing to make their lives harder as they get older. Anyhow, sorry for the rant, I just hate to see this.
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#2 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 11:58 AM
 
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I agree. I do believe that it is a form of child abuse. It isn't fair to the child to have a parent that feeds them garbage and a lot of it.

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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#3 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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There are parents who feed their child healthy and they are still overweight. My poor DD has terrible genetics. She is an extremely healthy eater yet she nearly 70lbs at 4 (she is also just over 4 feet tall). She runs, plays and whatnot without getting out of breath, she's in dance classes, dancersize, ect... The doctor said not to worry about it since she eats very healthy and gets lots of exercise. I am not going to starve her or deprive her of the good healthy food she does eat (or stop her from nursing) so she will fit into a model that society thinks is normal.

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#4 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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Then there is the other side. Now I wont touch the extremes but the general 5-15% overweight we see a lot can also be dirrectly linked to poor diet but also low income. I now personally as a low income family we went through many times where great or even good nurtution was next to impossible when I relled on pasta and potatos to feed my family and frankly those pack on the lbs. I'm not talking cheetos and soda and twinkies. but when your relaying on a food pantry provisons so your finding your choices as Mac N cheese instant potatos tuna canned green beans corn and peas pasta (tons of pasta) and wic provisions.. you make do and sadly often the body rebells. I tink there are a lot of "bad" choices that can contrubute parents who are feeding a lot of junk and by choice kids stuck in front of the TV all day ect but I also feel that nothing is black and white.

Deanna

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#5 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 01:03 PM
 
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My son takes a medication (he has Autism) that slows his metabolism. He is not overweight, but a little on the husky side. However, we make sure he gets plenty of healthy foods, exercise, and his doctor monitors his weight.

(And please no flames about the meds, because I am simply not going to defend it or discuss it at this time. Thank you.)

However, my SIL's kids are not just a bit chunky, they are FAT. I mean, the 13 yr old daughter cannot walk without huffing and puffing. SIL had gastric bypass surgery and is gaining her weight back. Her son is getting taller, so he is not as fat as he was, but still. SIL and BIL are not ignorant people. It baffles me. And of course, no one says anything to SIL or BIL. (to clarify~I would never, ever say anything about those kids to anyone or in front of them ~ they are not to blame and are great kids)

I feel that not trying to help your kids maintain a decent weight, is child neglect.
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#6 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 01:05 PM
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#7 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 01:07 PM
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Obesity is not caused by eating junk food. It's caused by consuming an excess of calories. Those calories can come from twinkies or spaghetti, potato chips or cubes of cheddar.

We cook fairly healthy most of the time. My kids are older and have their own money, go places without me, etc., so I can't control what they eat, and I know they drink a lot of soda and eat chips, candy and such when they're out or at friends' houses. They're both very slim, despite the 16yo's propensity towards sitting and playing video games all day. Because, while their diets do include garbage, they don't spend a lot of time eating.

While I think that we'd all be best served if junk food was eliminated from our diets, it's portion control that matters most for weight management. I think many overweight children have been trained to use food to occupy themselves. Lots of parents are like, "be quiet....here, have a cookie."

And of course, like the other poster mentioned....high calorie, "filler" foods are cheaper than better choices. Some people just don't have the money to feed their families whole grains and fresh fruit.
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#8 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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There is no one size fits all answer to this. There are so many factors that go into being overweight. Yes, there are some children that are overweight where it is clearly the "fault" of the parent. I would say that those cases are minimal. How can you call it abuse when the average person is trying to force candy, soda, and other psuedo-foods on little kids? How many threads have you seen where well meaning family members try to give your little ones candy or other junk ALL the time. If you speak out against it, then you are accused of depriving your child and being a bad parent. Don't you know, it's just a little taste? How can you blame the parent when kids are getting recess and PE taken away for not doing enough work in class or not getting enough AR points? I think the problem with overweight kids is a symptom of society and isn't something that can clearly be blamed on bad parenting.
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#9 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 01:32 PM
 
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And of course, like the other poster mentioned....high calorie, "filler" foods are cheaper than better choices. Some people just don't have the money to feed their families whole grains and fresh fruit.
I disagree. Dry whole grains (barley, oats) and beans are among the cheapest things in the grocery store! And fresh fruits and veggies, in season, are easily in the budget too.

I was on WIC for a time, and also food stamps, and had no problem at all feeding my family nutritiously - in fact, I would spend only 1/2 the food stamp allotment. And no, I don't have a college degree in nutrition - you don't need one and I got pretty annoyed by the well-meaners who assumed "poor" meant "too stupid to feed her family properly." The only people, rich or poor, who are having a hard time feeding their families nutritious meals are those who feel entitled to eat McDonald's. And they deserve the hypertension/obesity they get.

As for the kids, I wouldn't write off fat kids as having a life sentence to poor health and obesity. I come from bad genes, especially on one side (EVERYONE is >150# overweight) and my parents were the original couch potatoes. But I learned good nutrition (basic 4-food-groups commercials during Saturday cartoons!) and started long-distance running by myself in elementary school. Thirty years later, I'm still fit, and my sib and parents are still obese and in poor health. We all make our choices on how to live; I think we should give kids more credit for having the power to reassess and make their own decisions about health, LONG before they are adults.

So yeah, shame on the parents feeding their kids crap and not exercising, but kids can make their own healthy decisions pretty quickly in their lives. IMHO.

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#10 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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I disagree. Dry whole grains (barley, oats) and beans are among the cheapest things in the grocery store! And fresh fruits and veggies, in season, are easily in the budget too.

There only "cheep" when you have them as an option. We spent quite a bit of time going through loops getting approved through DES for food stamps despite having zero money for food so we rellied on food banks and there was no choose your whole grains and fresh fruits it was here is your big box of instant potatoes and cans of peas.
We've been on some form of food stamps for the past five years (I hate saying that) and depending on our ammount and the fact we haven't been elligable for WIC in a few years I can confidently say its is just about impossible to feed super healthy. Produce is not cheap not by a long shot not when even apples alone are $2.49lb on sale. Bread wit hout all the junk running at least $4 a loaf (and making isn't an option that requires an oven that works or money for a bread maker). And ect I've deffiently learned to do the best I can and i'll say despite the struggle we eat well and healthy but its not with out some huge struggles.

Deanna

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#11 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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The only people, rich or poor, who are having a hard time feeding their families nutritious meals are those who feel entitled to eat McDonald's. And they deserve the hypertension/obesity they get.
Thats very harsh and just not true... Mc Donalds is soo far down on our list of expecations its not an option. Again don't assume to know everyones situation. I spent enough nights crying my self to sleep because I had to deal with my DD melting down because all I had to feed her was a big can of spaggettos provided my the community food bank and she'd would have rather had a darm bannana. Plenty of times where I refrained from feeding myself (as as a diabetic thats dangerous) so I could give what little fresh produce we had on DH DD plates. Times when yes I bought the big bag of pasta and the 15lb bag of potatos because at least it filled them up... No one here has an obesity issue BTW but food isn't always nearly as nutrutionally sound as I'd like.
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#12 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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Man, i try SO very hard not to judge. Because there are so sooo many factors that go into this topic. The only time i get upset is if a child is REALLY heavy, and as was mentioned, incapable of even playing because of so much excess weight. I was labeled overweight as a child, by pediatricians. Although my parents were diabetic health nuts and i KNOW i ate a lot of good foods and very little junk until i was old enough to make eating choices for myself. In which time i went a little nuts with it lol. I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight, as have both my parents. But i maintained a zaftig but reasonably healthy size/weight until i got pregnant. I dunno where i am going with this lol.

My daughter tends towards the 'chunky' side and i get warnings from the pediatricians to keep an eye on her . But, girlfriend is big and will be a gorgeous armful of woman someday... i try really hard to help her have a good body image . She did go thru a phase of calling herself 'plump' or 'chubby' because her best friend was one of those skinny minnie kids naturally . That made me sad, but she got over it. She's tall and healthy and full of life and just perfect .
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#13 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:27 PM
 
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There are parents who feed their child healthy and they are still overweight. My poor DD has terrible genetics. She is an extremely healthy eater yet she nearly 70lbs at 4 (she is also just over 4 feet tall). She runs, plays and whatnot without getting out of breath, she's in dance classes, dancersize, ect... The doctor said not to worry about it since she eats very healthy and gets lots of exercise. I am not going to starve her or deprive her of the good healthy food she does eat (or stop her from nursing) so she will fit into a model that society thinks is normal.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Q26qzzetkG...h/IMG_3101.JPG
Your daughter is beautiful and looks normal to me. I don't see anything wrong with her weight at all.

Sheila, mother to William and Min Hee, wife of David
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#14 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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It is possible to eat healthy on the cheap, assuming you have even a small amount of money for groceries. If you're relying on a food pantry that's a different story... but frankly most obese people are not relying on food pantries.

I eat about 90-99% vegan and I do it very cheaply. Lots of carrots, celery, beans, peanuts (I splurge on more expensive nuts like cashews and almonds when I can), iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens (the latter are very cheap), citrus when it is on sale. Frozen greens are dirt cheap... 99 cents a package on sale. Quinoa (the goya brand is a fraction of the cost of the health food store stuff), whole wheat flour, brown rice. Assuming you have a working fridge/ freezer and oven, yes you can eat very healthy for not much money at all.

I don't mean any of this in a snarky way, but I eat healthy and cheap every day.

As far as obesity being child abuse, I think feeding your kids primarily junk (whether it makes them fat or not) is akin to abuse or neglect... my kids are all thin but they crave unhealthy thing and it's a real battle. You can lead a child to healthy food but you can't make them eat.
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#15 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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Your DD looks absolutely normal to me... I would never consider her to be obese if I saw her walk by.
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#16 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:45 PM
 
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Assuming you have a working fridge/ freezer and oven, yes you can eat very healthy for not much money at all.

YEa and there is a big problem here also many waht I'd love to have avaible her isn't. Doesn't mean I need or needed to go the other extreme but it did make it harder. Diffrent diatery needs also made it hard.

Deanna

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#17 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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there is definitely a difference between your weight and your health. you can be a bit overweight ( like has been mentioned, some kids are just built bigger, or have meds that make them put on fat) but still be basically physically fit..can run around, play, exercise, etc. and you can be thin and horribly unhealthy too.
I always look at physical fitness as more inmportant than weight..yes, they do start to correalte, but it certainly isn't OSFA, as someone already said. i know that I was in a lot better shape at 210 than at 180.....due to hormonal issues, i gained the weigth, btu at 220 i was going to exercise classes regularly, etc, and at 180 couldnt walk up a flight of stairs without nearly dying...

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#18 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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I do believe there is always the other side where some children may be more genetically incline to being overweight and some ethnicity are naturally thick. I have a few friends that are naturally thick and look sickly when they did loose weight(but they wasn't overly overweight).

But alot of the children and people I have meet or known has an eating problem. Alot has no problem admitting it. I have seen some start to get they life in order only for the other 'overweight person' to critize them about starving themselves and depriving themselves.

My sis. has a friend too that is overweight, this girl would get up all hours of night to eat. There is an increase in overweight children in America. When I was growing up there was rarely any overweight children in my school(not from the continient America, but is a US territory). I could have count on my one hand how many children was overweight from K-12.

I don't see being thick as a big problem. One side of my family is thick, which to me is there genes. I only get really sad when I see them that is clearly 'obese'/'overweight' where you can tell it is affecting them daily.

Also agree with pp that being too thin is not healthy eighter, there is other factors to look when it comes to health.
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#19 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bwylde View Post
There are parents who feed their child healthy and they are still overweight. My poor DD has terrible genetics. She is an extremely healthy eater yet she nearly 70lbs at 4 (she is also just over 4 feet tall). She runs, plays and whatnot without getting out of breath, she's in dance classes, dancersize, ect... The doctor said not to worry about it since she eats very healthy and gets lots of exercise. I am not going to starve her or deprive her of the good healthy food she does eat (or stop her from nursing) so she will fit into a model that society thinks is normal.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Q26qzzetkG...h/IMG_3101.JPG
I would not consider your child overweight, she just looks 'thick' which to me looks fine for her age, I would never consider that fat (And this is coming from a very thin person). I see nothing unhealthy about her weight.
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#20 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 03:05 PM
 
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I also think there is a huge emotional component to overweight; sil for example eats all healthy whole grains, etc. and is pretty big, and her daughter is going to be big too I think. But that is also genetics. There's so many factors, like pp said, emotional, food, exercise, also if they have asthma...most important people who are overweight should not be looked down on or made to feel bad about their weight! My MIL who is SIL mom recently passed away and she was naturally chunky but had an eating disorder which made her toooo think , and helped kill her in the end...we need to shift our attitudes etc.
And I have neighbors whose kids eat complete crap and are all skinny as twigs...it's just not simple...
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#21 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 03:15 PM
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There are parents who feed their child healthy and they are still overweight. My poor DD has terrible genetics. She is an extremely healthy eater yet she nearly 70lbs at 4 (she is also just over 4 feet tall). She runs, plays and whatnot without getting out of breath, she's in dance classes, dancersize, ect... The doctor said not to worry about it since she eats very healthy and gets lots of exercise. I am not going to starve her or deprive her of the good healthy food she does eat (or stop her from nursing) so she will fit into a model that society thinks is normal.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Q26qzzetkG...h/IMG_3101.JPG
She looks adorable and very much like my 3 year old. Dd is almost 4 and 98% for height and 95% for weight. the WIC ladies keep going on about not feeding her junk or too much juice, I don't, she's a tall kid with boundless energy. wearing a size 5T clothes.
I have seen some of the overweight kids on shows like Maury, and the parents are stuffing them full of pizza and other high fat, high salt, high carb Junk. That does seem abusive, if they had healthy normal diets, I could see that there were other things going on in the chilsd health to cause such huge weight gain.
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#22 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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There only "cheep" when you have them as an option. We spent quite a bit of time going through loops getting approved through DES for food stamps despite having zero money for food so we rellied on food banks and there was no choose your whole grains and fresh fruits it was here is your big box of instant potatoes and cans of peas.
Octobermom- I'm sorry if you feel attacked. You have been doing the best you could do for your family and that is all that anyone can do.

However there is a difference between having foodstamps or a small food budget and having zero money for food. If you go to a food bank it is not the same as going to a grocery store. At a food bank you must take what you can get but that is not what people are talking about. They are talking about actually going to the store with either an EBT card or a small sum of money.

On a tiny food budget (at one point my family of three was living on $25 a week for food) we still ate pretty healthy, brown rice is cheap, dry beans, frozen veggies, etc. A small bunch of bananas is almost always less than a dollar and a half in any season, and in season fresh produce is pretty dirt cheap (at least here it is, but I can get whole grain bread for 2.50 so there is obviously a difference in the cost of living here).

I think it's neglectful personally for people to allow their young children (not teenagers) to sit infront of the television or video game all day and allow them to eat empty calories. However, I realize there are many many factors in what leads to obesity.

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#23 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that a lot of good points have been raised here. Of course, every situation is different and there are always exceptions but I was more talking about like extreme obesity in children and when parents are just feeding them not only junk but junk all the time whenever they want it. I do also think the chunky and obese are on completely different levels.
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#24 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 04:35 PM
 
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Octobermom- I'm sorry if you feel attacked. You have been doing the best you could do for your family and that is all that anyone can do.
Thanks and sorry if I sounded like I felt attacked. Its more furstrations that builds up and occasionally spills out at innocent people. It's when all the factors come into place a poor budget having to choose between necessary medicine and good food a non working oven a child with special diet needs a DH who eats like every meal is his last it all adds up to lots of frustration.

Deanna

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#25 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 05:05 PM
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I disagree. Dry whole grains (barley, oats) and beans are among the cheapest things in the grocery store! And fresh fruits and veggies, in season, are easily in the budget too.
Well, I suppose that in some places, you have cheap produce. Here in Rhode Island, there are only a few months out of the year that anything is "in season." Some produce can be fairly inexpensive in the mid-summer-to-early-fall portion of the year, but that's about it.

I suppose I should be grateful that my family has never had to eat, say, beans and rice for weeks at a stretch. We like variety and interesting dishes, and I really can't imagine eating barley and oats more than once or twice a week. You gotta do what you gotta do, but like I said in another thread, healthy food is only healthy if it gets eaten. If I tried to feed my kids oatmeal and beans when they were small, they would have refused and gone to bed hungry. They will eat those things now, but both had texture issues when they were little.
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#26 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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I think it's horrible when a child is overweight because their parents think it's ok to overfeed their children or just feed them junk...

However, I don't judge a parent based on their childs weight if I don't know the situation. There are people who eat health and without an excess of calories who are still overweight. I know someone who eats healthy, exercises, doesn't over do it on anything and she is still classified as "morbidly obese".

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#27 of 125 Old 12-06-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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Thanks : She's so solid I cannot lift her without putting my back out, lol! DS is a few inches taller and about 15-20lbs lighter; same family, different body types. It just kind of hurts that many think that just because a child is very overweight, it is akin to child abuse. FTR, we're very low income and we don't have WIC/food stamps here, but I make healthy eating a priority.
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#28 of 125 Old 12-07-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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Dismal nutrition (whether it results in an overweight child or not) is a form of child abuse IMO. I know preschoolers who have a mt dew for breakfast and all the twinkies they so desire. Is it just lack of education?

I have one of those naturally "obese" but eats very healthy kids. I hope people don't assume I feed him junk food just because he's chunky. I often wonder.

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#29 of 125 Old 12-07-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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According to the BMI charts, my daughter is overweight -
http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/i...45819f9d55.jpg
Another picture taken the same week, you can see her better

We had a discussion about it everytime we went to a wic appointment (at one point they even recommended reducing her calorie intake!) Anyone looking at her can see that there is no way she is overweight. She is very "solid" (very strong legs and torso, but it's muscle, not fat)

Anyway, there are children who are overweight because of a bad diet, children who are overweight and eat healthy, children who are considered overweight by charts and bmi calculators yet have no extra fat, etc. You can't not assume just by looking at a child that they are overweight because of a horrible diet. My daughter eats very healthy foods, does not have a lot of extra fat, yet we get told she is overweight at every doctors appointment.

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#30 of 125 Old 12-07-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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Thin kids eat crap too, only no one notices b/c they don't wear it on their body. And thin kids that sit in front of the tv all day are no better off than their heavier counterparts. Poor habits, are poor habits regardless of weight. I dislike singling people out based on weight as it leads to stereotypes and erroneous assumptions that weight always predicts health.

I know several size 2 women who have flabbier stomachs than mine and zero muscle. So I no longer look at weight at all. What I look for is exercise, fitness, and diet.

Also, calories and portion control are only an issue for the true couch potatoes. There's a whole subset of obesity that is due to metabolic/genetic issues and not lifestyle. I am one of those exceptions. Calories don't really matter so much as what I eat (which I assure you is never crap).

However, I worry about DD who is chunky at 13 months. I hope to help her avoid my weight issues. At least now I know how to eat and what diet will control my weight, information that was not available when I was a child. So she has a fighting chance.

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