Monday, October 08, 2007

What to do for a child with a weight problem

I was talking this weekend to a dad who was concerned about his little 3 year old girl being too big for her age, And by big, we mean fat. Granted she's got some extra on her, as do many kids these days, but she's pretty and tall for her age too and she doesn't look like she's in danger yet.

Anyway, he was talking about taking away her plate and limiting how much she eats, and my response was, don't watch how much she eats, watch what she eats. She will not develop a complex if you just make sure the food she eats all the time is good healthy food.

I was all impressed with myself and my wisdom, or ability to coin a phrase anyway, so I'm passing it along.

The only thing I watch to see how much my children eat is sugar, and crackers near to a meal time. I give them small portions of those and let them have all the fruit, vegetables and whole grain foods they want, oh and beans. My kids are so skinny that the pants in their height fall off their little waists. My 3 year old still fits into a pair of jeans I bought her when she was a baby, they look like capris now. Only I know that they have a tag that reads 6 months on the inside. So, it works for my bottomless pit children anyway.


Trisaratops said...

As an adult woman who struggled with weight loss her whole life - I would say this is a pretty good approach. Adults who want to have cookies and ice cream in the house and then expect the child to limit his or her portions is setting the kid up for failure. I think when they are small enough that you're serving them, it's much easier. But when they are 13 and searching the kitchen for something to eat, they're going to grab the sweets - and lots of it! My Mom did a fantastic job of making sure we always ate healthfully, but also had sweets in the house when we were old enough to serve ourselves. My problem has always been portion control. But I'm changing it now.

Esther said...

That drives me crazy when parents put their kids on a "diet". It is the parent that is feeding them, so the parent needs to change. They need to serve a prepare REAL food, the kids probably won't like it at first but they'll be better of in the long run. It is so worth the effort and cost to serve REAL food.

Charity Grace said...

This is timely because I grew up in a family where all the kids had weight problems at one time or another, yet weight was really emphasized. To the point that at least one developed an eating disorder. I've been mulling over how to avoid this pattern with my own kids--an obsession with weight (or rather, thinness), and yet on the other hand, developing the kinds of eating habits that facilitate healthy and attractive weight. Basically, how to make it a non-issue if that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it possible that a child is unhealthily thin if they can fit into a size 6 month pair of jeans at the age of 3?

Carrien said...

Anonymous-I would be possible if you didn't know that baby pants are made fit over big diaper and that they are made out of stretch denim so they have a lot of room in them, and if you know much about how kids grow.

Healthy kids tend to grow length wise a lot with out adding much width. OR they get a little plump and then gain inches and the plumpness stretches with them.

I suppose I could have posted a picture. But since this is an old post and the pants in question no longer fit the girl in question, that can't happen.

Anonymous said...

I am a mother of healthy children without weight problems, so I know plenty about how kids grow. I guess the focus of your post seemed to be about your kids being "so skinny," and that focus seemed to contradict what this blog is trying to be a forum for, health, right? My comment was not meant to accuse you of having children that are too thin, but rather to say that glorifying thinness above health leads to eating disorders and low self-esteem.

Carrien said...

Anon-I can see how that last paragraph, which was merely there to illustrate my point could be misconstrued.

What I was trying to say by inserting that there was that my kids eat all the time, and they eat a lot, and they are not over weight. Which takes me back to the original point of this post, which I believe echoes yours. To take away a child's food before they are finished or to focus on how much they are eating is a good way to promote insecurity and obsession with thinness. The real solution is to focus on WHAT they are eating and to make sure that all of their choices are healthy.

Perhaps my throwaway tag at the end referring to my bottomless pit children and what they eat while not having a weight problem confused that issue.

For the record, I NEVER talk to my kids about thinness, only about health. As I do with the larger kids that I sometimes take care of. We talk about what makes our bodies stranger and what weakens them, not what makes us thin or fat.

Thanks for your comment.

Carrien said...

stronger. not stranger. oops

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