Obesity in Children: What Can Parents Do?

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I’ve tried to provide a lot of tips, tricks, and information about how to help your child either prevent or fight child obesity.  It’s tough to keep track of all of the guidelines for keeping a child healthy through diet and exercise.  I feel Dr. Paul Thomas, a pediatrician, does an excellent job of summarizing these guidelines in his video “Obesity in Children: What Can Parents Do?”.

Dr. Thomas highlights three key aspects:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Avoid artificially sweetened products
  • Do everything you can to get your child active

Our bodies were designed for us to eat whole foods.  A good rule of thumb Dr. Thomas provides is “living off the land”.  If it can be grown in the earth, then it is most likely healthy for us to eat with minimum consequences as far as weight gain goes.  Some examples of these foods are fruits and vegetables…yum!

Artificially sweetened products include anything that claims to be “diet”.  These foods cause our insulin to pump at extreme levels. As our insulin pumps, we gain more and more fat storage.  Not exactly what you thought when you bought the diet version is it?

Lastly, Dr. Thomas says we need to do anything we can to get our children to exercise.  He describes it perfectly by saying, “energy in needs energy out”.  This means that you have to have a way to burn off all the calories, or energy, we intake or they’ll take a permanent residence on our waistlines in the form of love handles.  No one wants that for their children (or themselves)!

Hopefully his video helps to simply summarize what needs to be done to keep your children healthy!  You can watch his other videos here.


Image source:

http://www.indoindians.com/component/k2/item/42404-of-parents-and-children

Proposed Nutrition Labels Could Change Child Obesity As We Know It

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How often do you look at the nutrition information on the back of a food product?  We’ve all done it.  We’re concerned about what we’re eating so we turn the package or box over and look at the “important” information: the calories and fats.  But have you ever paid attention to the sugars?  After this, I bet you’ll start.

The article “Nutrition Facts Labels May Soon Include Added Sugar Info; Food Companies Protest Despite Risks Of Obese, Diseased America”  by Samantha Olsen explains the new proposed nutrition label by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  As of now, nutrition labels don’t include the amount of added sugars.  The amount of sugars listed is a combination of both the natural sugars and added sugars.  In the new proposed label, these two amounts will be separate to clearly define how many natural and how many added sugars are in the product.

In 2006,  there was a requirement for food companies to display the amount of trans fats on nutrition labels.  Times change and since the nutrition label was first introduced twenty years ago, we’ve gained a lot more insight into what is harmful to our bodies.  Trans fats needed to be included because of the risk and harm involved with eating them.  Now that we have gained insight into the risks of added sugars, it is time for them to be displayed as well.

The FDA states, “Many experts recommend consuming fewer calories from added sugar because they can decrease the intake of nutrient-rich foods while increasing calorie intake.”  To simplify,   the human body can use sugars up to a certain extent, passed that point the leftover amount of un-used sugars are stored as fat.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that American women should have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, and men no more than 9 teaspoons.  Although there is no specific amount for children, one can assume the recommended amount would be less than a woman’s.  In the average soft drink, there are about 10 teaspoons of sugar.  Americans are consuming way beyond their recommended amounts of sugar daily, causing a lot of sugars to be stored as fats

Children are especially at risk to become negatively affected from added sugars.  Many food companies have resulted in aiming their advertisements for their products at children.  Kids are also targeted in the grocery stores.  The unhealthy products that scream, “Eat me!” to kids are placed on the lower shelves, making them at eye level to children.  This makes the unhealthy foods hard for kids to resist, and hard for parents to say no to.

There are many people that say in order to lose weight you need to eat healthier and eat less.  Although it is never a bad idea to choose healthier options, a major part of it is people need to eat less sugars.  In order to do so, knowing the amount of evil, added sugars included in the items consumers want to buy for their kids, or themselves, would be helpful.


Image source:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#Summary