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DD2 -- at 8 -- is a little younger than this girl, but I have lately seen more of a tendency toward being sedentary that, coupled with her natural love of eating A LOT, seems to have caused her to put on a few extra pounds. I agree with what pp's said about not having a "talk" but just getting more active together.

With dd2, I've noticed that she won't always ask for a high-protein snack like salmon, but will tend toward eating large amounts of starchy foods -- and yet, if I anticipate her hunger a few minutes before she gets her mind set on a particular thing, and just bring her a dish of, say, salmon, cheese, tomato, and carrots, she'll literally scarf it all down and she seems much more satisfied after that. So I do talk with both my girls about protein, and about focusing on nutritious food FIRST before snacking on high sugar or starchy stuff.

About activity, as a very tall 8yo, dd2 is in the phase where playground activities are only fun when there's someone to play and run around with, whether that someone else is me or other kids. She's not longer in that stage of just running out the door and embracing the outdoors and running wild in it. She now needs outdoor activities that are fun and interesting for her, or else she'd rather sit indoors and play computer games. This means that I need to get out there with her and help her transition into finding ways to love the outdoors NOW.

My 13yo dd has already made this transition and now goes out for 6-mile walks most days with our big Lab. I feel confident that dd2 will find her own "thing," but for the moment, she needs my help with it.
 

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I really don't think there's such a thing as overeating for children and teens -- but there is such a thing as eating too many empty calories that don't really satisfy you and getting to an unhealthy weight-for-height because of that.

I was quite slender as a teen, and my best friend and I would often go to Quicktrip after school and buy a large bag of chips a piece, plus large softdrinks, and gulp it all down while chatting in her car, and I don't know about her, but I think I still went home hungry and ate a full dinner. It didn't seem to affect me then, but it sure started to pack on the pounds later. I remember my shock at learning how small an amount of Funyuns or Doritos really constitutes a serving.

I've also noticed that I'm always hungry after eating a McDonalds meal, in spite of the fact that a meal consisting of something like a Big Mac, large fry, and large drink provides close to a day's worth of calories.But I feel quite satisfied after eating a bowl of cooked broccoli with a little butter and cheese melted into it. Waaay fewer calories but waaay more of other nutrients that my body needs. For breakfast when I'm in a hurry, I'll often grab a large bite of salmon since I usually have an open can in the fridge, and maybe a raw carrot or some celery. This is much more filling than a donut, though I will occasionally binge on something like that.

So rather than urging my child to eat less, I'd urge an "always hungry" child or teen to eat more protein and more food that is dense in other nutrients before snacking on something like chips or cookies.
 

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I have some more thoughts on this issue due to a recent experience of dd1's. She is 13 and, after homeschooling all of her life, has just started 8th grade in a public school.

Earlier this week, the school had all the kids line up while they recorded their heights and weights. I'm not sure whether this was for some kind of study or to get actual information regarding kids who might be at risk. But anyhow, dd measured in at 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed in at 145 lbs., which is well within the normal range for her height, and her friend measured in at 5 feet and 1/2 inch tall and weighed in at 160 lbs.

And her friend made the comment, "I'm not fat -- I'm just curvy," and dd agreed with her and said, "Yeah, I'm a lot taller than you but I'm not curvy." And then her friend told dd that she (dd) was "getting there" but she "wasn't there" yet -- that she was still at "that awkward stage" and "hadn't filled out" yet.

It seems to me that the height and weight charts are pretty unfair to girls who are very curvy, and maybe also to those who are large boned and/or have a lot of muscle tone. Dd's friend is a skateboarder and sounds pretty healthy and athletic, and it does seem unfair to me that she may go through her life labeled "obese" or "unhealthy" simply because of where she fits on the charts.

At the same time, it was rather astounding to me that my tall, slender, healthy, and very active dd, who just so happens to fit perfectly into the weight-for-height recommendations, also walked away from this experience feeling like there was something lacking in her physique, and like she was "awkward."

With this in mind, I really think that focusing on eating natural, healthy foods and on finding and making time for physical activities that we enjoy is much, much healthier than focusing on weight.

I hope my dd will eventually feel this way, too. As of now, both she and her friend have decided that they want to lost 15 lbs. this year.
 

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Yes, and muscle weighs a lot more than fat, so it seems like someone with a higher proportion of fat to muscle could actually weigh in within a healthy range and still have too much fat, while someone with a higher proportion of muscle could weigh in as obese and still be healthy.

I also wonder about things like body width. My 8-year-old is very wide in her frame -- her shoulders and hips -- moreso than other kids her age and even some others who are taller than her. It seems to me that it would be healthy and necessary for someone with a wider frame to weigh more than someone who's very narrow. It's not like you can shave off your bones!
 
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