Top 10 Reasons Kids Gain Weight

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Mar2011 11

1) Too much snacking.

Kids get as much as 1/3 of their total daily caloric intake through snacking.  If kids were allowed to choose nutrient dense foods such as, fruit or vegetables as opposed to energy dense foods (soda, chips, candy) the problem associated with snacking could be eliminated and our children would be healthier.


2) Increased portion sizes

The size of portions has increased substantially over the past 30 years.  What used to be a large is now a small.  Why would a child or teenager need a 64oz big gulp as a snack? That is a half-gallon of pure sugar water! Worse, those calories bypass digestion and enter the Portal vein straight away!  The amount of calories that enter the body depends on the rate of digestion.  Sugar water is a free for all increasing the number of calories potentially stored as fat.  Serving sizes of burgers and fries has increased as well.  Long gone are the days of the small serving.  Everything is about getting more “food” for a few pennies more.  Super size your meal and super size yourself at the same time.  Tricky slogans and clever ad campaigns confuse us about the real benefit of bigger is better.  There is NO benefit.  More is not better, less is.  Less food, less stuff, and most of all, less calories.


3) Not enough exercise

PE in schools is now thought of in a past tense.  When I was growing up in the 70’s, PE was mandatory.  Now it is an elective course and some schools have eliminated it completely!  Physical Education strengthens the mind as well as the body.  A child that burns some of their excess energy prior to sitting down to learn actually learns at a higher rate.  The bear minimum for any age child to be active is 60 minutes a day.  I would say at least 90 but with the hectic work schedules we all have, 60 minutes, everyday, will work.


4) Ate too many sweets and desserts

Sweets, candy, cookies, cupcakes and soda are the biggest offenders in the development of our youth.  It only takes a second to see what these energy dense, nutrient deficient “foods” do our young ones.  Diabetes is the biggest threat to our children’s health and well being.  The solution is easy; don’t introduce sweets to our young!  I don’t keep sweets in our home, don’t give them soda or candy ever, and when they have ice cream or birthday cake it is for a special occasion.  Replace the garbage with wholesome goodness.


5) Emotional cues (lonely, bored, sad, etc.)

Engage your children with books, talks, walks and questions.  The young mind has a million questions and very few answers.  We are link between the past and the present.  Share this precious gift of knowledge with your young and see what happens.  Take them on a date day or night, ask them how their day was, make up a round robin story.  Do something to help ease the burden of childhood.  Reflect on your childhood, be the parent you wished your parent was or if the were rockstars, keep rocking baby!


6) Spent too much time in front of a “screen”

iPhones, iPads, portable DVD players, Computers and video games are killing the imagination of our youth. President Obama asked our youth to be innovators. How can they do that if their imagination is someone else’s?  Children spend an ungodly amount of time in front of a screen.  We used play “Army” or “Cowboys and Indians” when I grew up.  Now they play, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and blow the world apart!  We need to have our children put the remote down and pick up a ball.  Go out in the backyard and teach them how to throw a ball or have them take a class.  Their future is our hands, its up to us to decide how they develop.


7) Ate too much fast food

Fast “food” is just plain garbage.  It might easy to pick up and taste good to eat but what are the consequences?  Please, Please, Please go watch “Supersize me” by Morgan Spurlock and “Food Inc.” You will never view food the same way again!  Everything we put in our mouth to eat or drink has an impact on our bodies, the question still remains; Do I feed a Ferrari or a Yugo?


8) It runs in my family

Family genes and tendencies towards obesity have little to do with our young.  Most obese parents eat too much junk food and they, in turn, serve it their children.  Children are not responsible for what they eat, we are!  If we want to give our youth the best possible future then we as parents need to make a change in how we feed our kids.  My girls, Simone and Soraya, fight over who gets their broccoli or asparagus first!  It is easy to do, no junk and introduce the good stuff first.  When kids are hungry they will eat.


9) Drank too much soda

Soda is just plain evil!  Those companies manipulate us into giving that junk to our kids through clever advertising and faulty promises.  Soda not only makes our children fat, but it rots their teeth and is the LEADING cause of early onset diabetes! Replace soda with water and highly diluted fruit juice.  I still would not recommend giving kids fruit juice, give them fruit! Whole fruit has all the fiber missing from juice plus the vitamins and minerals too.  We are chronically dehydrated.  Our body is 70% water; give your body what it needs!  If you find plain old water boring, spice it up!  Add fruit slices, mint, berries or my favorite, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar!


10) Too many fattening foods served at home

Once again it is on us!  We decide and provide the foods we serve our children at home.   We need to take the time to make and eat nutritionally balanced meals at home.  Our children learn from us.  As their parents and role models, we need to lead them in proper food choices and show them how fun it is make healthy meals at home.  Teach your child how to prepare a balanced meal at home and make it fun!

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