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Wake Up! Our Kids Are FAT ... Fix It!

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As parents, we MUST help stop this horrifying epidemic. Momlogic expert Dr. Cara Natterson gives her advice on this weighty issue.

teens laughing at obese girl

Consider the numbers: One in three adolescents and two out of three adults are either overweight or obese in this country. Why is this happening ... and what can we do?

"Obesity is one of the hardest things to recognize for a parent," says ML pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson. "Parents don't want to recognize that their child is having a problem, because it is the last thing they want for them. It puts the parents in crisis mode because of all that obesity implies: the loss of self-confidence, bullying, health implications, sadness."

This is an issue that can absolutely no longer be ignored, but what exactly IS this disease that's eating away at the health of this country, and what can we do to prevent it?

A child is considered obese if their weight is at least 10% higher than what is recommended for their height and body type. Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80% chance of becoming an obese adult.

Think being fat doesn't hurt? Take a look at these teens, speaking openly about their struggles with obesity on a recent episode of "Tyra."

Dr. Cara says there is a simple explanation to why a large part of our youth is obese: "Our portions are too big, we eat too many calories and we do not exercise like we used to," she says. "We drive, we watch TV, we sit. The human body needs to move."

You must take a no-nonsense approach to setting rules in your household, says Dr. Cara. "Teens just as much as kids need rules," she explains. "The idea of their right to privacy and having computers and televisions in their rooms is not the correct way of approaching this."

Dr. Cara's advice:

1. Put computers in the kitchen or a space where kids can be monitored. Allow them two hours of "screen time" daily -- this includes computer, television, video games, iPods.

2. Apply the same rules for everyone in the house, not just the child or teen that is struggling with obesity. Everyone has the same amount of screen time and exercise time, and everyone eats similar foods. Make this a family pact so as to not alienate your obese child.

3. Create activity times with Mom and Dad. One day a week, Dad takes the kids out for a physical activity, and the other day Mom does it. Kids don't want to be fat, but oftentimes, they are too young to join a gym. Demonstrate the importance of physical activity.

4. Remove soda and junk food from the household. Create a healthy family environment for everyone.

5. Limit fast food, take-out, and eating out. Prepare foods at home as a family. Eat a diet rich in calcium and fiber, and limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

6. Enforce a rule of one hour of physical activity a day. (Otherwise, they won't receive their screen time.)

Most importantly, create an environment that supports and encourages healthy choices.

What do you do in your household to foster fitness and health? Share your tips and get advice in the momlogic community.

next: Woman Makes Clothes Out of Her Own Hair
135 comments so far | Post a comment now
Dave July 1, 2010, 9:15 PM

This is an ever growing issue that needs to be continually pushed to help prevent child obesity. More activities are needed and less video games and television. If we can combine that with a more healthier diet, we can definitely help our kids stay healthy, fit and more active.

Thanks for the post!
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Joel lose belly fat July 13, 2010, 1:02 AM

Watch the amount of protein (meat) eaten, the amount of sugar into the stomach, and the type of food the kids are eating. It really affects alot on the obesity level of the kids.

I watched a documentary about how a school changes the diet of the kids before and the obesity level drops. The best thing is the kids turn hardworking. There’s a connection between what we eat and our mental health too.

Hope this helps!
Warmest Regards,
Joel from how to lose belly fat

Jenny July 19, 2010, 11:30 PM

Obesity is the major health problem which will lead to other disease too.. Not only eating food in fast food is the reason.
The food consumed should be hygienic and in diet control. junk foods should be avoided, exercise should be done.

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Jon August 5, 2010, 4:42 AM

This action list should be flipped. Studies have shown that the main cause of weight gain is diet and not a lack of exercise / sedentary lifestyle. Part of the problem is that parents are making an effort to get their kids to do a little more exercise and to eat less fat, while ignoring the real problem - simply too much food is eaten. And most of the overeating is as a result of too much sugar (in all its forms, not just white refined sugar). When childhood diets, lifestyles and activities were studied it was found that children became less active after putting weight on, not the other way around. Being overweight makes people less active.

Many sports and fitness professionals are also of the opinion that weight loss is 80% diet and just 20% exercise.

So tackle diet first, then worry about getting kids more active second. First step should be throwing out all sugar laden junk food.

Ashley August 11, 2010, 2:09 AM

My daughter is slightly overweight. She is 15 y/o 161 lbs and is 5’0”. We only have fast food 2-3 times a week and only drink soda at dinner. If Carlie doesn’t want to do sprt or whatever she doesnt have to, its her choice. As far as I know she isnt being teased or anything. ZLimiting Junk is hard for us because what else is she going to take to school? Apart from crisps, cookies, choco milk, frozen mini apple pie and a chocolate bar. Its not that unhealthy really, and theres not much I could do to make it healthier.

Junson Chan August 25, 2010, 3:40 PM

Self-confidence is an issue. She needs to be told that it is ok to be different and that if she is hungry, she should can eat other good tasting foods that don’t have a lot of trans fat or salt. It’s not her fault.

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Rachel Kay September 7, 2010, 7:42 PM

You need to have self confidence if you want to lose weight. To lose weight you have to have a step by step weight loss plan and set goals, Rachel fast diet weight loss blog

mBelly September 27, 2010, 3:11 AM

I think this is a public issue. A lot of activities will make you fat such as TV, Game. You can change your activities to lose fat


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irena October 4, 2010, 1:49 PM

Children obesity is fact.Something has to be done about that.I agree that meals have to be prepared at home and avoiding fast food would also help. Irena from
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christine212 October 4, 2010, 5:26 PM

there is so much we can do for our kids so they dont become obese. I feel it really does start with us as parents such as limiting fast foods, cooking healthier, and teaching our kids about exercise and how to lose belly fat.

Fashion Trends October 12, 2010, 1:35 PM

Keep your posts coming, the fashion sector needs extra articles like these.

Amy October 29, 2010, 10:55 PM

This has a lot to do with added sugar… Before feeding our kids with so much food imitation…because these aren’t real organic food, we should always read labels, and if there are terms we don’t understand, we should look them up. And definitely watch out for high fructose corn syrup…

Here some cool articles and videos you should read and watch concerning this madness:
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AndreaK November 1, 2010, 9:48 PM

Do not about the kids. The girl is really cute. Its not a big problem at all. Limit the intake of food and give foods rich in calcium. avoid milk products.


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Bydgoszcz Fryzjer November 8, 2010, 3:56 AM

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Robert G. November 23, 2010, 1:40 PM

Teen obesity can be a serious problem. Thank you for educating us on the subject. Nice tips.
Tassi mutui.

Jonathan Mayerson November 23, 2010, 1:59 PM

Hey - just wanted to show some love- really enjoy your post. The theme simply rox! See ya!

High School Senior Picture Studios November 24, 2010, 11:42 PM

Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.

corneliu November 26, 2010, 12:44 PM

It’s no doubt in my mind that the parents are responsible for their child obesity. They fed their children with junk food and they don’t educate their children to exercise more. (I’m not talking about the medical cases)
All the best,
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Hemorrhoid Cure November 27, 2010, 4:08 PM

Nice reading. Very helpful, have a good day!

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