Posts Tagged ‘obese baby’
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
Join Dr. Dolgoff at #kidsweigh! #kidsweigh is a weekly twitter discussion about child nutrition and weight issues. You are welcome to bring questions concerning your own kids or just learn more about the weekly topic.
This week’s topic: Healthy Italian Food. Learn what to order for your kids at an Italian restaurant! Find out how pizza can be healthy. Understand which foods should be avoided. Bon Apetit!
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Monday, June 29th, 2009
Healthy Birthday Snack Ideas:
A child’s school birthday celebration should be centered around the child; instead, it has become centered around cupcakes. Parents bring in these unhealthy treats and kids rejoice. Yet with the current child obesity crisis, many are rethinking this caloric tradition. In response, I have created this list of healthy birthday school celebrations. Enjoy them! And please, let me know if you have any additional suggestions.
1) Allow extra recess time in honor of each student’s birthday and allow the birthday child to choose an active activity or game. The birthday student’s parents are welcome to participate.
2) Craft project: Bring in supplies so each student can make a birthday card for the birthday child.
3) Craft project: Decorate a balloon with stickers and glitter. Each child gets to take their creation home.
4) Bring in a large balloon bouquet and let each child pick a balloon to take home.
5) Parent reads selected book of choice to class.
6) Create a birthday book for child; each classmate creates a special page about the birthday child.
7) Provide goodie bags with stickers, pencils, pens, school supplies, crayons, noise makers etc.
8) Arrange a classroom scavenger hunt with small non-food gifts for each child.
9) Decorate a birthday crown.
10) Bring in coloring books for each student. Have each child color a page from their book and then hang up the masterpieces and have a ‘gallery showing’.
11) Bring in small fun activity gifts for the students, i.e. jump ropes, mini-Frisbees, waffle balls. Allow some time for the students to play with their new gift.
12) Give each child elastic bracelets with birthday child’s name stamped on it.
Healthy (Or At Least Healthier) Food Options:
1) ‘Make your own’ yogurt parfait with fat-free yogurt, low-fat granola, and fresh berries.
2) Fruit Kebobs: Cut fruit into interesting shapes and let children put the fruit onto skewers with a few marshmallows.
3) Frozen Banana Krispie Treats: Cut a banana in half. Put a Popsicle stick in the banana and then smear with low-fat vanilla yogurt. Roll in rice krispies, freeze.
4) Fresh fruit topped with low-fat whipped cream.
5) Waffle topped with fruit and chocolate syrup.
6) Low-fat pudding with low-fat whipped cream.
7) Frozen fruit bars.
8) Create a trail mix: Let each child choose their own mixture of whole grain pretzels, multi-grain chex, and dried fruit.
9) Yogurt covered raisins.
10) Apples slices dipped in caramel dipping sauce.
11) Baked apples with cinnamon.
13) Orange frizzes: Mix chilled orange juice with carbonated water and a scoop of sorbet.
14) One scoop of low-fat ice cream with sprinkles.
15) Exotic fruit of choice.
16) Jell-o topped with low-fat whipped cream.
17) Baked tortilla chips with salsa.
18) Homemade low-fat rice krispie treats.
19) Yogurt covered pretzels.
20) Baked potato chips.
21) Low-fat pita with hummus.
22) Baked tortilla with guacamole.
23) One scoop of fat free ice cream in a wafer cone.
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Thursday, June 25th, 2009
Last week, there was an article in the NY Times about Meme Roth and her fight with her children’s school concerning school birthday parties and cupcakes.
What sets her off is the junk food served on special occasions: the cupcakes that come out for every birthday, the doughnuts her children were once given in gym, the sugary “Fun-Dip” packets that some parent provided the whole class on Valentine’s Day.
“I thought I was sending my kid to P.S. 9, not Chuck E. Cheese,” Ms. Roth, a trim, impassioned 40-year-old from Atlanta, said in an interview. “Is there or is there not an obesity and diabetes epidemic in this country?”
Although I agree with Ms. Roth’s concern, the article outlines the outlandish strategies and infantile behaviour she uses to get her point across. For the complete article, click here.
Those who know me understand that this is my pet issue. I have seen too many children crying because they are trying to eat healthy but are surrounded by so many temptations. In my opinion, schools should be a safe haven. So I drafted a letter to the NY Times and surprising, it was printed in Saturday’s paper! Here is my article below:
Published: June 19, 2009
Esther Pearl Watson
Re “Mother’s Fight Against Junk Food Puts a School on Edge,” by Susan Dominus (Big City column, June 16):
As a pediatrician and a child weight loss specialist, I am conflicted about this article. MeMe Roth, the mother “driven mad” by junk food, may not use the best tactics, but her point is right. We are in the midst of a child obesity epidemic. One out of every three children in our country is either overweight or obese. Our schools should be a safe haven for our children.
I have overweight children crying in my office on a daily basis because they are trying to eat well but are confronted with temptations at school. I do believe in all foods in moderation. But our children have plenty of exposure to unhealthy foods outside of school.
In a typical classroom of 26 children, there are up to 26 days of birthday cupcakes to contend with. Then you add in celebrations for holidays, and many classes have a party every week. There are many healthy birthday options, and we can use them to celebrate our children’s birthdays without sacrificing their health.
New York, June 16, 2009
I am interested in hearing your thoughts about cupcakes and school birthday parties. I know I am in the minority. I agree that it is perfectly fine for a child to have a cupcake every now and then. The problem is that it becomes more than now and then. Each child’s birthday usually results in two cupcakes- one at the school party and one at the out-0f-school party. Not to mention all the junk food that is thrown at our kids from everywhere else. Is it really necessary to add another temptation? Can’t we celebrate a birthday without eating unhealthy fare?
Next week: my suggestions for healthy birthday celebrations.
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Sunday, May 31st, 2009
It’s Sunday evening and I am exhausted. We have been running around with the children all day and neither my husband nor I feel like cooking. The kids are too run-down to take them to a restaurant. And most fast food is really unhealthy. I can’t decide what to feed the kids for dinner. I even debate playing the “Breakfast For Dinner” game and giving them a bowl of cereal. And then a commercial for KFC’s New Grilled Chicken comes on TV. Hmmm… My husband and I both look at each other. Should we?
I run to the computer to do some research. And I am pleasantly surprised with what I find. KFC grilled chicken is healthy!
Let’s compare the options:
GRILLED CHICKEN ORIGINAL RECIPE EXTRA CRISPY
Wing 80/4 110/7 150/10
Breast 180/4 370/21 490/31
Drumstick 70/4 110/7 150/9
Thigh 140/9 260/19 370/27
But what does it taste like? Solely in the name of research, I head out to KFC. I order the 10 piece family meal which comes with three large sides. I order green beans, corn on-the-cob and rice.
The grilled chicken was delicious. Really delicious. Of course, I peeled all the skin off before serving it to myself and my kids which lowered the calorie/fat count even more. Even without the skin, it tasted great. You could really taste the KFC spices. I practically felt like I was eating real KFC. My family will definitely be eating it again.
Interested in the calories counts on the side dishes? There is no easier way to blow a healthy meal than by eating unhealthy sides. Make sure you pick carefully!
Side Dish (Calories /Fat)
(per standard serving size which varies with each dish- imagine a small amount)
Green Beans (25/0)
Mashed Potatoes (130/4.5)
Macaroni ‘n Cheese (180/9)
Potato Wedges (260/13)
Corn On-The-Cob (140/1)
Cole Slaw (180/10)
Sweet Kernel Corn (110/0.5)
My recommendation for your child’s meal? Either a breast or a thigh and either a drumstick or a wing. Peel off as much of the skin and fat as possible. Then serve green beans, half of a large piece of corn on-the-cob, and a very small serving of rice. A nutritious, fast, and easy meal.
And no- KFC did not pay me to write this post nor do they have any idea that I am writing it!
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Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Improving your child’s diet does not have to be an arduous task. Little changes add up to big nutritional gains. Here are 10 quick and easy steps to makeover your child’s diet and prevent weight gain.
1. Don’t allow junk food in the house.
If it isn’t in the house, your kids can’t eat it. Or at least they will have a more difficult time getting their hands on it. Your first line of defense starts at the grocery store. Leave your kids at home when you are grocery shopping, if possible. Make a list before you leave your house and stick to it. Don’t get distracted by the tempting treats in the market. Buy healthy snacks to keep at home and save the junk for when you are out and can’t avoid it.
2. Don’t let your kids drink their calories.
Many children lose weight simply by giving up sugary beverages. Parents greatly underestimate the number of calories and grams of sugar in what their kids are drinking. Did you know that one can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar? You would never knowingly give your child that much sugar to drink! And juice is not much better. I think of juice as sugar water. Children do not need to drink juice for its vitamin C. They get plenty of vitamin C from other sources. Think about it. When was the last time you met somebody with scurvy? Replace these sugary drinks with water, Crystal Light, or flavored seltzers.
3. Bigger is not better.
These days, even kid-sized servings are humongous. Most children in my weight loss practice have gained weight from eating too much healthy food, not from eating all junky foods. Remember, all food (even healthy ones) have calories and if you eat too many calories, you will gain weight. Be sure to serve your children appropriate portions of their meal. At a restaurant, share entrees or ask your waiter to pack part of your child’s portion away before he starts to eat it. We all know how difficult food is to resist when it is sitting in front of you!
4. Everything in moderation.
Tell a child (or an adult) that she can’t eat something and that is all she will want to eat. No food should be off limits. Banning foods leads to uncontrollable cravings. Instead, practice moderation. It is okay to eat ice cream as long as you save it for special occasions and limit it to an appropriate serving size.
5. Don’t promote the ‘clean plate club’.
The best thing you can teach your children is to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Do not push your kids to eat more than they need, even if you think they have not eaten enough. Our understanding of a proper portion size for a child is overinflated. Push your child to eat the amount you think they need and they will eventually get used to eating that much. And then who wins?
6. Go back to nature.
Processed foods, while more convenient, tend to contain more calories than more natural foods. Whenever possible, stick to foods in their purest forms. Fruits, vegetables, meats and grains should make up the bulk of your child’s diet. Save the fast foods and processed foods for occasional treats.
7. Promote fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
Kids need the calcium in dairy to help their bones grow normally. But regular dairy products are very unhealthy because they contain so much saturated fat. Try to avoid full-fat dairy products. Instead, give your kids low-fat or fat-free cheese, yogurt and milk.
8. Nuts are a healthy snack.
Nuts are a great snack for children over the age of three who do not have any allergies. Nuts contain lots of protein, fiber and good fats that will keep your child full for hours. Children enjoy many different types of nuts, like pistachios, peanuts and almonds. Peanut butter is also healthy! Just be sure to stick to an appropriate portion size and make sure somebody is watching your younger child eat nuts as they can be a choking hazard if eaten too quickly.
9. If it’s fried, don’t eat it.
Teach your kids that fried foods are unhealthy and try to stay away from them whenever possible. In a restaurant, ask them to grill or bake your food instead of frying it. A great way to prevent cravings for fried food is to serve a healthier version at home. When my kids want fried chicken and french fries, I serve them chicken that has been breaded and then baked in the oven with potatoes that have been baked to a crisp. They love it and it satisfies their cravings for fried.
10. Incorporate movement into your child’s daily activities
While vigorous exercise is important, any increase in your child’s movement is helpful. Encourage family walks and bike rides. Grab a ball and play some basketball. When going to a store, pick the worst spot so you have to walk further to get to your destination. Ban elevators; take the stairs instead.
Incorporating these ten easy steps into your routine will greatly improve your child’s diet and your child’s health. Sometimes the smallest changes lead to the greatest gains.
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Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Several states now send home “weight report cards” to parents. The school reports the child’s body mass index and informs parents if their child is considered underweight, normal-weight, overweight or obese. The note home also includes nutritional tips and guidelines. Parents around the country are fuming! Should schools get involved in this arena? Is it appropriate for a parent to receive such a letter?
In my opinion, the answer is YES!
Quite honestly, I don’t understand what all the uproar is about. The information is completely confidential and parents can do with it what they please.
Studies show that the majority of parents of overweight children fail to recognize that their kids are overweight. And if they don’t realize that their children are at medical risk due to their weight, they will not take the appropriate steps to help them.
A 2007 study from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found that only 13 percent of parents with obese children ages 6 to 11 rated their child as being very overweight, compared with 31 percent of parents with obese children ages 12 to 17. And, less than 10 percent of parents with obese children ages 6 to 11 said they were “very concerned” about their child’s weight.
One out of every three children in this country is overweight and at risk for medical disease. Our children are developing medical conditions that used to be seen solely in adults. And according to the CDC, this generation of children will be the first to die younger than its parents. We clearly need to do something to help these overweight children.
Some parents are concerned about the cost of such a program. School budgets are already stretched thin. Parents are complaining that this program is simply an unnecessary expense.
Schools have always mandated that doctors send them information on each students height and weight. So they have had this information but have not done anything with it! The only change is informing the parents of the results. The cost of this program is truly nominal!
Eating disorder activists worry that this program will cause overweight children to develop disordered eating. But studies show that if you treat an overweight child in a sensitive manner and give them the necessary tools to lose weight, you actually DECREASE the incidence of disordered eating. These children are at a MUCH higher risk of medical disease from being overweight than they are of developing an eating disorder. The key is to handle the situation appropriately. That is why schools are not giving the information directly to the child. Nobody is telling a student that he/she is overweight. The school is simply giving the parents the information along with some nutritional guidelines. It is then up to the parent to handle the situation appropriately.
We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that is shortening the life span of our children. As a society, we need to do everything we can to help the each child of the next generation live as long and as healthy a life as possible. I believe that informing parents, who may be unaware, that their children are overweight will help. When it comes to a child’s health, ignorance is definitely not bliss!
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Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
An overweight woman is putting her child’s health at risk! This simple fact should help motivate women to lose weight.
Women in America are more overweight than ever. But even more disturbing, their children are too. In fact, according to the CDC, this generation of children will be the first to die younger than its parents. It is not just mom’s health at risk. Women are usually shocked to learn that a child with two normal-weight parents has a 7% risk of being overweight. If one parent is overweight, the risk jumps to 40%. And a child with two overweight parents has an 80% risk of being overweight.
Moms can significantly lower their children’s risks of obesity by losing weight themselves! Children model their parent’s behaviors. Every mother knows that nothing is more attractive to a child than what is on mom’s plate! A child who sees that mom doesn’t value eating a healthy diet will learn to eat junk. On the other hand, when a child sees mom enjoying healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, he will want to eat those foods too.
My own children taught me this lesson last summer! I was sitting in my kitchen with a mango. But not just any mango- a perfectly ripe, juicy mango. “What a treat,” I exclaimed as the juice ran down my face. “This is really the best.” The next thing I know, my kids had jumped onto my lap, begging to try it. Truthfully, I didn’t want to share- it was that good! But I gave them some and thus began my kids’ love affair with mango. It all has to do with how you react to the food yourself! Now, when I sit down with a new healthy food, I make sure to let my children watch me enjoy it. More often than not, it prompts them to want to try it too.
The same goes for exercise. Children of mothers who exercise are significantly more likely to enjoy exercise themselves. If moms don’t exercise or exercise begrudgingly, kids learn that exercise is a chore. But if kids see their mothers looking forward to working out, they want to join in too. My kids are thrilled when I let them join me on a morning run or an afternoon bike ride!
Mothers always want what is best for their children. We need to remember that our weight directly influences our children’s weights. It is not selfish for a mother to take an hour a day to exercise. In fact, in a sense it is selfish not to! Reminding mothers that they must lose weight to help their children is often all the incentive they need to begin, and continue, their weight loss journeys.
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Sunday, April 5th, 2009
A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics revealed that simply installing water fountains in schools, giving kids refillable water bottles and teaching kids the benefits of drinking water decreased the risk of being overweight by 31%.
The study out of Germany looked at 3,000 2nd and 3rd grade kids in 32 schools over the course of one year. Data showed that each child simply increased their water consumption by about 7 ounces!
The data is shocking! Simply drinking 7 additional ounces of water each day drastically decreased the risk of obesity. What an easy intervention for parents. Try to get your children to drink more water throughout the day. Remember, when preventing child obesity, every little bit helps!
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Monday, March 30th, 2009
In many cultures, including our own, a chunky baby is considered a healthy baby. Even I, a child obesity expert, was proud of my infants’ fat rolls, taking them as a sign that my body was providing all the milk my baby needed to grow strong. As a general pediatrician, I have seen many nervous parents worried that their newborns were too thin. I almost never saw parents who were worried that their baby was too chubby.
Yet now, researchers are warning that babies who gain weight rapidly in the first six months of life are at a much greater risk of becoming obese toddlers.
According to a new study in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics, rapid weight gain in early infancy is a more important indicator of future obesity than how much a baby weighed at birth, the weight of the infant’s parents, or the number of pounds mom gained during pregnancy.
“The perception has been that a chubby baby and a baby that grows fast early in life is healthier and all the baby fat will disappear,” said the paper’s lead author, Dr. Elsie Taveras, an assistant professor in Harvard Medical School’s ambulatory care and prevention department. “But (that) is not the case.”
More interesting, the finding held even for premature babies and babies who were underweight at birth!
One caveat to the study: the kids were only followed for three years. It would be interesting to see what happens to these children throughout the next decade of their lives.
So what can we do to prevent our babies from gaining too much weight in their first six months? I can tell you one thing you must not do; do not put your baby on a diet. Let me say that again. Do not jump to what seems to be the obvious conclusion. IT IS NOT SAFE TO PUT A BABY ON A DIET!
But maybe we can teach parents to better understand their babies’ cues. Babies do indicate when they are no longer hungry. Babies often turn their heads away when they are satiated. Yet many parents still try to get the last few ounces in. Perhaps parents can stop the feeding at the first sign of this cue. If the baby is, in fact, still hungry, she will let you know; your baby will cry, fuss and show ‘rooting’ behaviors. If that occurs, feel free to start to feed again. Parents must give up their preconceived notions of how much a baby should drink at each feeding.
Breastfeeding is another way to prevent too much weight gain. While it is not impossible to overfeed a baby while breastfeeding, it is less likely. Breastfed babies are better able to control their intake because parents have no way of determining exactly how much their baby is drinking. Even breastfed babies give cues when they are done feeding. A breastfed baby will come off the breast when hunger subsides. But I remember, while breastfeeding my own kids, thinking that they hadn’t been feeding long enough to be done. I worried that they hadn’t yet reached the nutrient-rich ‘hind milk’. So I would put them back on the boob. We need to rethink this knee-jerk reaction. If a baby comes off while breastfeeding, moms should wait before trying to feed again. As with the bottle-fed baby, if he is still hungry, he will let you know!
I hope this study causes us to rethink our attitudes toward bigger babies. Parents of normal-weight babies should not worry that their babies are too skinny and therefore unhealthy. Parents must not strive for the chubby baby that has become our society’s ideal. It’s time to change our understanding of what makes a healthy baby!
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