Posts Tagged ‘child diet’
Friday, February 26th, 2010
It is commonly believed that a vegetarian diet is a healthy diet. And that is usually true, but not always. Consider the mother who recently told me that her child had decided to become a vegetarian. As she described his diet, I realized that he did not eat a single fruit or vegetable! Isn’t that a fundamental part of being a vegetarian? More and more, however, young vegetarians are turning into “carb-etarians”, eating few fruits and vegetables and opting for starches, such as pasta, pizza, and French fries. Clearly, this sort of diet is in no way healthy.
There are many ways in which eating a true vegetarian diet (complete with fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins) can benefit your health. Dairy foods and certain animal products, like beef, tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol; limiting or eliminating these foods from your diet is a great way to cut back on these “bad” fats. However, people who choose to adopt a vegetarian way of life tend to make up these calories by eating more carbohydrates like breads, rice, pastas and other starches. While your LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) can be greatly reduced from switching to vegetarianism, a diet too high in carbohydrates can actually result in elevated triglyceride levels. Triglycerides contribute to total cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
The foundation of any healthy diet is one with balance, variety and moderation. Eating a wide range of foods ensures that you will get all of the nutrients your body requires. So while adopting vegetarianism can be part of a healthy lifestyle, it is important to choose your foods carefully. Relying solely on carbohydrates for nourishment is not healthy. Dietary protein is important for maintaining your immune system and for building and repairing your body tissues. Vegetarians need to eat the proper amount of plant-based protein each day.
Meats, fish, eggs and poultry are the most “complete” sources of essential amino acids, the protein building blocks that the body can’t make on its own. Other foods do contain protein but are usually “incomplete” sources of amino acids, meaning they have some, but not all, of the amino acids needed to make proteins. Vegetarians can ensure that they are getting all of the essential amino acids by combining foods, such as whole grains with nuts or legumes. For example, whole wheat bread with peanut butter, or rice and beans. These foods don’t necessarily have to be eaten at the same meal; as long as you are having these foods throughout the day, the body is able to “pool” amino acids and save them to form body protein later on.
It is very possible to consume a vegetarian diet that has only plant-based proteins and is still nutritionally balanced. In fact, this type of diet can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, peas and lentils are full of fiber and antioxidants, which decrease your risk for certain cancers and heart disease. In addition to making you feel full and satisfied, dietary fiber can lower serum cholesterol levels and improve colon health.
The heart-healthy benefits that can be gained from switching to vegetarianism are not solely dependent on the foods you eliminate from your diet. What you include in your diet is also important. The bottom line is that vegetarians must eat fruit, vegetables, and plant-based proteins.
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Friday, February 19th, 2010
Play dates are a great way for your child to interact with other children, learn to share, build social skills, and most of all, have fun! But what happens when your overweight child comes home to tell you about the fried Oreos or fast food snack he consumed at his friend’s house?
It is clear that parents often have different styles and ideas concerning food. But there are ways to ensure your child’s play date doesn’t turn into a day of indulgence.
Here are some helpful hints to having peace-of-mind during play dates.
1) Have an open conversation with your child. Discuss the food options he may encounter and help him come up with healthy alternatives. When served an unhealthy treat, teach him to respectfully say, “No thank you. May I have an apple or some almonds instead?” He doesn’t need to tell his friends why he is choosing a healthier food. If they ask, he can simply say, “I like this better.” End of discussion.
2) Talk to the other parents. You don’t need to go into details but you can mention that your family is trying to eat healthy and avoid junk food and super-sized portions. By saying your family and not your son, you switch the emphasis from your son’s weight to your entire family’s health.
3) Give some examples of the types of (easy) snacks that you prefer. Some parents may not know which snacks are healthy or may simply be unable to come up with healthy ideas. Choose items that most people have in their kitchens. You may mention apples or apple slices with peanut butter, bananas, low-fat yogurt, raw veggies, reduced-calorie bread with turkey slices, baked potato chips, and low-fat cheese sticks. You may find these parents stocking up on these healthy snacks once they see your child eating them. Everybody’s home may wind up healthier!
4) Ask the parents to serve your child water instead of juice or soda.
5) If your child is embarrassed to have you speak to his friend’s mother, simply send your child to the play date with a healthy snack from home. If your child feels comfortable bringing his own snack, prepare a snack ahead of time so he can enjoy a healthy option without having to explain himself. He can simply say, “I am just a picky eater so I brought my own.”
6) Lead by example: When you are hosting play dates, have a variety of foods for kids to try. Prepare healthy foods you know your children love and create a friendly environment for their friends to discover new foods.
For example, if you know your child loves red peppers, slice up a few and notice what happens. Other children will become curious and may end up loving red peppers too. When kids see a friend eating something and loving it, most often they will try it with on open mind, no force necessary! They will probably go home and ask Mom to buy their new favorite food… red peppers!
7) Encourage active play dates to decrease the amount of sedentary time children have throughout the day. Weather permitting, try to get the kids outside with suggestions such as playing tag, bike riding, shooting hoops or any running-type sport, like soccer. If it is winter time, try inside games like twister, Wii sport or Wii Fit to keep kids moving. Sometimes kids just need a little prodding to move away from the TV and towards something active.
Most of all, be open and honest with other parents. Explain that this is something you are struggling with in your own house and that you would appreciate any help on this matter. You may be surprised to learn that you are not the only family on the block with the exact same issues!
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Saturday, February 13th, 2010
First there was the airbrushing of babies in magazines and now parents are starving newborns so they don’t become “fat babies”. What is this country coming to?
We all know that being overweight is unhealthy and can put a person at risk for medical illness. Being too thin, however, is also not healthy and often not attainable. Most of us were not meant to be a size zero. And those who do manage to starve themselves to this size, wind up regaining the weight. Yes, there are some people who are naturally skinny and they can be healthy. But most people really have to work to get (and stay) at that size, often using unhealthy methods. Society’s obsession with emaciation is leading to many adverse side effects.
Consider the case pending against Brittainy and Samuel Labberton for attempting to starve their newborn daughter to the point of clinical emaciation. They were much more concerned about the child’s looks than the child’s health! When the baby gained some (much-needed) weight during a hospitalization, Brittainy complained “’Oh my God, she’s fat’ and ‘I have a fat baby,’” according to Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carol Spoor. The baby’s dad was not better. He complained to detectives that his 9-month old daughter had “gained so much weight that now she is fat,” according to court documents. In fact, during a visitation after she was taken to a foster home, they gave the infant a bottle filled with a laxative to help remove some of the weight gained since the child’s removal from the house.
I see more subtle cases of this in my office, on a regular basis. I have seen mothers bring in normal-weight teen girls, complaining that they are too heavy. One mom even forced her daughter to drop her jeans so I could see “how disgusting her huge thighs are”. These moms are never pleased when I refuse to treat their daughters and instead I tell them that they are “healthy and beautiful.” Can you imagine what this does to a young girl’s self-image? My job is to help overweight kids get to a normal body weight, not to help young girls starve themselves to live up to some unrealistic expectation from their mothers!
The truth is that babies, children, and even adults NEED to have some body fat! The human brain is not fully developed at birth; during the first years of life, fat is used to nourish the brain and allow for proper development. Kids are supposed to have fat on their bodies, as well. Unlike adults, children are still growing and need sufficient calories and nutrients to do so. Even adults need some fat on their bodies. We were not meant to be stick-thin. A person considered “normal-weight” by the medical community would be considered enormous by Hollywood standards. Admiring pin-thin models and celebrities only leads our children to have more self-doubts and lower self-esteem. Instead of focusing on getting skinny, we should discuss getting healthy. There is a happy medium.
Children who feel accepted by their parents are more likely to feel secure, do better in school, and simply be happier. As parents, we must do all we can to nurture a positive sense of self in our children. Let’s stop obsessing about cellulite and a few extra pounds and instead focus on keeping weight in a healthy range, not too heavy and not too skinny. As my mom always says, “Everything in Moderation!”
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Friday, December 4th, 2009
At times the desire to eat certain foods becomes overpowering and in an attempt to avoid disappointing Mom and Dad, kids start to sneak food. Often, parents do not see the amount of unhealthy foods their children are consuming. Have you noticed any erratic eating patterns, hidden candy wrappers, disappearing foods, or consistent weight gain? If so, your child may be sneaking food. Over time, children who sneak unhealthy foods can become overweight or obese.
What can you do as a concerned parent?
1. Initiate a conversation with your child and let him know that you will be discussing an important health issue. Try not to come on too strong. You might start by saying, “I have noticed something and I am worried about your health.” You can then state your concern. “I found a bunch of candy wrappers under your bed” or “I can’t understand why you are gaining weight when you seem to eat so healthy.” Then tell him that you want to help, not condemn.
2. Do not bombard your child with questions all at once. Once you have opened up the conversation, sit back and listen to what your child has to say. At first, you may get denials. If so, simply tell him that you love him and that you are always there if he wants to talk. It may take some time before your child is ready to open up to you.
3. Be aware that secretive eating is almost always associated with feelings of guilt. Let your child explain why he feels guilty about eating certain foods. Try to emphasize that eating and enjoying food is an important part of life and should not be associated with guilt. Remind your child that no food is off limits and that anything is okay in moderation.
4. Be sure your child knows that he should not feel embarrassed about craving certain foods or about overindulging. Explain that dieting is not easy and that everybody goes overboard once in a while. Let him know that you will not be angry if he occasionally eats unhealthy foods. Tell him you are there to help him get through his cravings without completely sacrificing his nutrition. Then explain what you do when you face cravings. The bottom line is to make sure your child knows that you understand what he is going through.
5. Help your child find nutritious foods that he enjoys. If your child is sneaking brownies, suggest a 100-calorie pack of brownies or a brownie Vitamuffin. You may be able to find a healthier version of the desired food.
6. Try not to have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. Remove the temptation by clearing the fridge and cupboards.
7. If the problem persists, consult a health professional. Sneaking food is often a symptom of an underlying emotional issue. It may even be a sign of depression so it is important to seek additional help if you cannot resolve the food sneaking behavior by yourself.
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Friday, November 20th, 2009
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might think it is impossible to stick to a healthy eating plan-right? Wrong! Although high calorie foods and holidays go hand in hand, it is 100% possible to stay on track! Do not let the cornucopia of food options weigh you down; it is time to kick off the holiday season right. Follow these tips to ensure you have a happy AND healthy season!
Top 10 Thanksgiving Survival Tips
1. Eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch before your Thanksgiving extravaganza to prevent hunger and the overeating that often results from it!
2. Bring a low calorie dish or dessert to your Thanksgiving dinner (even if you aren’t asked) to ensure you have healthy options available.
3. On the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle every day. Choose to eat well and exercise often to prevent any unnecessary weight gain.
4. Drink plenty of water on Thanksgiving! It helps fill you up without any extra calories.
5. Aim for just one helping from each food group! Enjoy a balance of protein (white meat turkey), vegetables, and one type of starch, such as corn or potatoes, to fill you up!
6. If you must, save a red light food to have an extra helping of potatoes or a dessert!
7. Enjoy special holiday foods! Don’t waste calories on foods you can eat everyday; instead, choose smaller portions of holiday favorites like Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie.
8. Avoid noshing on small appetizers because they can add extra calories to your meal without making you feel full.
9. Fortunately, white meat turkey, vegetables, and sweet potatoes are healthy options found at most Thanksgiving dinners! Just be aware of how they are prepared; avoid fried foods, heavy sauces and foods made with a lot of butter or oil.
10. Nix leftovers! Give your guests “doggie bags” or donate leftover food to a homeless shelter in your area.
Thanksgiving is a day to focus on family and friends and to give thanks for all the blessings in your life! You may want to even start a new Thanksgiving tradition in order to celebrate. Instead of focusing solely on the food being served, get the whole family moving with a friendly game of touch-football or basketball. Don’t forget to give thanks for your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season!
Healthy and Hearty Thanksgiving Staples
Pumpkin Spiced Squash Pie
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ready Time: 90 minutes
· 1 cup cooked mashed butternut squash
· 3/4 cup fat-free milk
· 2 eggs
· 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
· 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1/8 tsp salt
· 1 store-bought graham cracker crust
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. blender, purée squash, milk, eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt until completely mixed.
3. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the pie is set in the center.
4. Let pie cool on the counter and then refrigerate.
Makes 8 servings
1 slice (1/8 pie): Yellow
Nutty Bean Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ready Time: 25 minutes
· 8 cup small green beans, ends trimmed
· 2 cup sliced green onions
· 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
· 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
· ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
· 1 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1. Arrange green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 8 to 12 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place beans into cold water to stop the cooking process; drain.
2. Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add green onions and sauté until tender. Add green beans, walnuts, rosemary, and lemon juice.
3. Cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with lemon rind and serve.
Makes 8 servings
1 cup: Green
Cranberried Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ready Time: 65 minutes
· 2 medium sweet potatoes
· 2 Tbsp cranberry juice
· 1 Tbsp brown sugar
· 1 Tbsp butter, melted
· 1/8 tsp ground ginger
· 4 tbsp craisins
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Scrub potatoes and cut in half lengthwise; do not peel.
3. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the potatoes in pan, cut-side down. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes or until almost tender.
4. Stir together the cranberry juice, brown sugar, butter, and ginger. Turn potatoes cut-side up and brush with cranberry mixture. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle each half with 1 tbsp of craisins. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
½ potato per serving: Yellow
HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE THANKSGIVING!
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Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Society’s craze with thinness has found a new target: our babies. It is no longer just women and teens who have to be thin to be considered attractive; our babies must as well. According to a new BBC documentary, My Supermodel Baby, many magazines airbrush their baby models to “put them across in the best light”. The airbrushing ranges from removing spittle to erasing creases of fat. Erasing fat creases from babies? Isn’t that what makes them adorable? Isn’t that how babies are supposed to look? Is nothing sacred anymore?
Daniella Delaney, the editor of the magazine Practical Parenting and Pregnancy said, “Babies are not like adults. You can’t stop them from dribbling, so you might remove that bit of dribble from the chin. Or if the baby has just been crying, and their eyes are red, we might lighten the eyes. Or if they have just woken up because they have had a nap on the way in and we photograph them, we might remove a little bit of sleep.” She said she was not aware of a policy regarding erasing fat creases but the casting director for her magazine’s photo shoot, which was covered in the BBC documentary, admitted that many changes were made to the baby model. ”We lightened his eyes and his general skin tone, smoothed out any blotches and the creases on his arms,” he said. “But we want it to look natural.”
Yes, a naturally perfect-looking baby. I don’t think so!
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, who has campaigned against the use of airbrushing in magazines, said: “People will be appalled that a magazine would not think images of beautiful healthy babies are alright as they are and instead have to conform to some standard. The idea that babies must look more perfect – that they can’t have creases in their skin – shows the obsession with a particular ideal. Where does this end?”
I couldn’t agree more! What kind of message are we sending to our children? We are telling them that anything less than “perfection” is not okay. I am not worried that the baby models are lying in their cribs worrying that they didn’t look good enough in the photo shoot. But what will this baby’s parents say to her when she grows up and looks back on those pictures. “Look at this picture of you. Isn’t it adorable? Of course, you didn’t really look like that back then. We had to airbrush your thighs because they were just huge!”
And even if the conversation doesn’t actually go like that, this baby model will grow up to wonder why her other baby pictures look different from the ones that everybody fawns over. Eventually, she will realize that even as a baby, she wasn’t good enough as she was.
When I received my four year-old daughter’s school picture last year, I must admit that I was slightly disappointed that she was making a goofy face. She was looking at the camera but her eyes were kind of droopy. But not for a moment did I consider airbrushing her “imperfection” away. I want to look at pictures of my daughter, not some idealized version. And truthfully, I find her ideal regardless of how she looks.
In the fourth grade, I had a huge space between my front teeth and braces. I was pretty awkward looking- and I knew it. I can’t imagine how wounded I would have felt if my parents had airbrushed that space, or even my braces. Now, I laugh when I look at that picture. And I am glad to have it to show my daughter that everybody goes through awkward phases- and that is okay! Plus, that picture got a pretty big laugh when it flashed across the screen at my wedding rehearsal dinner.
Airbrushing our children’s imperfections sends the message that our kids are not good enough as they are. We are demonstrating that there is an ideal way to look and that we should all strive to look that way. And who wants to teach that to their children? I, for sure, do not. I will take my daughter’s goofy-faced picture and hang it on my wall with pride. Nothing could make her any more perfect in my eyes.
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Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Many parents view their children’s excess weight as an aesthetic issue. They worry their kids won’t be liked in school, won’t be picked in gym, and won’t be pursued by members of the opposite sex. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, parents have a lot more than looks to be concerned about. New research shows that about 100,500 new cases of cancer are caused by obesity each year.
Obesity is known to cause many deleterious health effects but this study is one of the first to conclusively link specific cancers to excess body fat. And as the number of obese people increases in the population, so does the number of cancer patients! According to the study, 49% of endometrial cancer (about 20,700 cases per year), 35% of esophageal cancer (5,800 cases per year), 28% of pancreatic cancer (11,900 cases per year), 24% of kidney cancer (13,900 cases per year), 21% of gallbladder cancer (2,000) cases per year, 17% of breast cancer (33,000 cases per year), and 9% of colorectal cancer (13,200 cases per year) are due to obesity.
How does being overweight increase your risk of cancer? That depends on the type cancer. Experts believe that the increased estrogen found in overweight women leads to endometrial and breast cancer. Post-menopausal obese women have 1.5 times the risk of breast cancer than normal weight post-menopausal women. Before menopause, the ovaries are the primary source of estrogen. Fat tissue, however, also makes estrogen. Post-menopausal women, whose ovaries no longer make estrogen, tend to have lower estrogen levels. Obese women have estrogen levels that are 50-100% higher than normal weight women. It is believed that this increased level of estrogen causes rapid growth of estrogen-responsive breast tumors.
Obese women are not only more likely to get breast cancer, but they are more likely to die from it. Breast cancer is harder to detect in an obese woman and is usually diagnosed at a much later stage, leading to lower survival rates. Weight gain during adulthood is the most consistent and strongest predictor of breast cancer risk.
It is not clear why obese people have a higher risk of colon cancer than normal weight people. It may be that the high levels of insulin or insulin-related growth factors in the obese promote tumor development.
Gastro-esophageal acid disease (GERD), common in the obese, is the likely cause of the increased risk of esophageal cancer.
The reason for the link between other cancers and obesity is not known. The obese tend to have higher levels of many different hormones and growth factors that likely increase the risk of cancer.
What should we take from this study? The importance of preventing weight gain in the first place! Parents need to teach their children proper eating habits from the very beginning. Half of overweight school-age children and three quarters of overweight teens will become obese adults. So start promoting a healthy lifestyle now!
Teach your children the value of eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle and you need not worry about the increasingly-evident link between obesity and cancer.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009
The only scary part of Halloween should be the ghosts and goblins, not the candy and sweets! Do not fear Trick-or-Treating; after all, it is a Halloween tradition. Halloween candy and customs can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, just as long as you make a few minor adjustments!
Top 10 Tips for Halloween!
1. Serve kids a healthy snack like peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread before you go out Trick-or-Treating. Children with full bellies don’t tend to binge on chocolate.
2. Prepare a special Halloween meal with healthy ingredients to show kids that Halloween can be fun and low-calorie! See our suggestions below.
3. Let your kids enjoy their Halloween candy in moderation. For example: divide candy into 3 piles: Hate, Like and Love! The hate and like candy should not be eaten. Let them use their red light foods and enjoy the candy they love.
4. Do not save left-over Halloween candy for more than 3 days! On days 1 and 2, put a 100 calories worth of candy as a treat for lunch. On day 3, throw the candy out! It is better in the garbage than around your belly!
5. Sift through your child’s Halloween candy and make sure to throw out anything super-sized or suspicious. Doing that will ensure a much safer and healthier candy bag.
6. Donate all the extra treats you decided to get rid of to a local shelter or bring it to work for your co-workers to enjoy, in moderation of course!
7. Do not buy Halloween candy weeks in advance; it can lead to unhealthy “picking” weeks before the actual holiday!
8. Brush your teeth before heading out the door for Trick-or-Treating! The minty taste will prevent any unnecessary overindulging!
9. Give your kids crafts to do on Halloween. Help them make scary masks, jack-o-lanterns or haunted houses to distract them from eating candy all day!
10. Consider breaking tradition this year and escape to a haunted house or go for a hay ride instead of collecting candy!
Go ahead—focus on having fun with your kids; dress up and enjoy time together! Remember to follow the tips to ensure a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!
Halloween Day Menu
Eye-ball Eggs with Gooey Guts
Cook 2 eggs over easy (eye-balls) and place 2 slices of fat free cheese (gooey guts) over the “eye-balls” and melt! Enjoy this breakfast with a sliced up apple!
4 Hershey kisses or 2 tbsp M&Ms with some carrots or a banana!
Use bone cookie cutters to create fun Halloween shapes in whole wheat bread! Make sandwiches with 4 slices of ham or turkey or peanut butter & jelly! Add different vegetables or fat-free cheese for fun combinations!
¼ cup chocolate covered raisins or 4 gummy worms plus a fruit or vegetable!
A healthy whole wheat pasta and chicken dish made with all kinds of healthy and colorful veggies. Serve in a big “witches cauldron” just for Halloween!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Ready time: 25 minutes
- ½ lb lean, boneless, chicken breast
- 1 lb whole wheat bow-tie pasta
- Medley of veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, fingerling potatoes and squash.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Boil and drain the pasta according to packing directions.
- Grill and slice up boneless, lean chicken breasts.
- Steam to cook broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and squash.
- Combine all ingredients with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Makes 4 servings
1 1/3 cup whole wheat pasta = Yellow
2 oz chicken breast = Green
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Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Personality traits, genetics, and athletic ability combine to influence kids’ attitudes toward participation in sports and other physical activities. Help your kids figure out their fitness personality based on their overall personality to ensure a lifelong love of exercise!
If your child is very social, encourage team sports, dance classes, biking, or skateboarding with a friend. These activities will keep your child active and entertained for hours.
For the introspective child, try exercises such as yoga, swimming, jump rope, jogging, or working out with an exercise video. Team sports might be too much pressure to perform in front of an audience. The suggested exercises allow your child to exercise at her own pace.
If your child is adventurous and likes to be outdoors, suggest exercises such as rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, surfing or even mountain biking. These sports will keep your child motivated each time he hits a new trail!
For the creative child, suggest exercises that they will allow your child to express herself, such as dance classes, yoga, gymnastics, ice skating, dancing around the house, running, fast walking or even using exercise equipment at home with music she loves.
If your child is competitive at heart, encourage as many team sports as possible, such as tennis, hockey, or soccer. Try to encourage running sports so she is able to benefit from the great cardiovascular workout!
Creating a Workout Regimen:
When creating a workout routine, choose the sports or exercises that fit your child the best and make it fun. Try adding music to each routine or creating a playlist; music is a powerful motivation tool and makes everything more enjoyable! Below is an example of a detailed workout regimen:
- First start with a warm-up to allow the muscles to wake up and get ready for the work ahead! A warm-up should last between 4 to 10 minutes. Do exercises that focus on the major muscle groups of the body. Try walking around the block or up and down the stairs, lunges, squats, shoulder rolls, and raising and lowering the shoulders.
- Next, start working on increasing the heart rate for the cardiovascular (aka “cardio” portion of the exercise. Try to keep your child’s heart rate up for at least 30 minutes to get the most benefits. Try running/jogging, jumping, skipping, jumping jacks, biking, swimming, dancing, and kick-boxing or even surfing when it’s nice out!
- Now, try working on strength. This does not mean body building or even lifting weights; muscle strength can be improved using your own body weight and is very safe for children. Try doing at least two of the different exercises for at least 5 minutes each. Try push-ups on the floor or at the wall, plank, stomach crunches, wall squats, throwing and catching a weighted ball, lunges, or even jumping squats.
- Of course we must end with the cool down! The cool down is just as important as all the other parts of the exercise routine but is usually skipped. After working out, muscles can start to tighten up, leading to injury. Be sure to stretch the muscles that were worked out during the exercise routine. Try doing at least two different stretches for 3 to 5 minutes each; try neck rolls, shoulder rolls, quad stretches, hamstring stretches, butterfly stretch (sit on the floor with the soles of feet touching and lower upper body, nose to feet), or sit on the floor and forward bend, trying to touch your toes while keeping your legs straight.
Try as many different exercises as possible to keep your child moving. Kids who exercise often are less likely to become overweight or obese and have a decreased risk of developing type II diabetes and heart disease. They also sleep better and have an all around positive attitude about life. Regular exercise, along with a balanced diet will lead to a lean body with strong muscles and bones, allowing for a long and healthy life!
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Monday, October 12th, 2009
Our worst fears have finally come true. Overweight teens are dying from heart disease. Pediatricians have long feared that the rising number of severely obese children and teens would soon start to suffer from adult complications of obesity, like heart attacks, strokes, and death. And now it is happening.
According to the St. Louis County medical examiner, a 13-year old football player who collapsed during football practice died as a direct result of “hypertensive cardiovascular disease”, also known as high blood pressure. This young man, Anthony Troupe Jr. died last August but the results of his autopsy were just released this Wednesday. The cause of death was hypertensive heart disease, which is known to be caused by obesity. Young Anthony was 6-foot-2 and weighed 383 pounds.
Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise to those of us in the child obesity specialty. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal and reviewed in the New York Times earlier this year found that obese teens were twice as likely to die by age 60 as non-obese, non-smoking teens. But it is one thing to think of somebody dying at age 60 and quite another to think of a child dying at age 13. It is just so sad.
Other studies have found similar results. A Harvard study followed teens over 50 years and found that obese boys were twice as likely to die from heart disease as normal-weight boys. In fact, they learned that obesity that starts in childhood or adolescence causes a greater risk of early death than obesity that starts in adulthood
It is clear that heart disease starts at a very young age. As parents, we must protect our children from the deadly effects of obesity. Many look at obesity as an aesthetic issue. It is not. It is a disease. A disease that can kill. And we must treat it that way.
I urge any reader with an overweight or obese child at home to get help before it is too late. Children must work with physicians when starting a weight loss program. So call your pediatrician and get a referral for a child weight loss specialist. Do not wait.
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanna-dolgoff-md/child-obesity-our-worst-f_b_317380.html
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