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Overweight Children - Who's to blame?

I think most of us are aware that there is a nationwide epidemic of obesity on the rise in children.

In my opinion and it is a strong one, I view overweight children as children that are neglected. I believe that an overweight child suffers the same as a starving one.

Love is not the issue. It's a form of neglect and I'm so infuriated that more isn't done, that parents aren't being held accountable.

I was in the grocery store today and there was an overweight mother pushing a cart, and behind her, her son who looked to be about 10 years old, maybe close to 5 ft. tall, and must have weighed over 200 lbs. The worst part, he was gulping down a mega sized energy drink! It took everything in me not to say something to the mother. I wouldn't have said anything nasty, but truly heartfelt. I was just afraid of saying something and getting into an argument or something in front of her son.

I know this post is extremely opinionated, but it just breaks my heart to see children this way. Not only is it unhealthy for them, but being that severely overweight makes life hard on them in many aspects. I can speak to this, because twice in my life I have been fat. When I was a teenager, I put on some pounds and after I gave birth to my son, and I tell ya, people are mean and life wasn't so peachy during those times.

Whew.........had to get that out :)

Fri. Nov 9, 9:44pm

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I agree... but what are a mother and father that weigh 300 lbs going to teach their children about nutritional foods? They aren't doing anything to help themselves many times, let alone their children. It is sad. Mega sized pops and candy bars and fast food don't help matters any. I am fortunate enough to be able to teach my children about healthy choices and eating right while they are young and I am trying to change my eating habits because of them. I dont want to be a fat mom with two fat kids trailing behind me that look just like me.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 9:57 PM

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Boy this is a tough thing for me to grasp. I have all kinds of opinions about how to or not to deal with an adult that is overweight. But when it comes to a child this is a touchy place to go.
I think of myself, dealing with my emotions with food. Not that I knew at the time that is what I was doing. Then there is the thought of relatives with overweight children and should you say something to the parent or child.
I have been guilty of taking the kids to get unhealthy food. At the time that was my life style and I still fight it. When you are in the midst of it you can't see it. You don't realize. Then now that I am looking at it from the other side I want to give healthy foods to my loved ones. And it is easy to explain the importance of eating healthy but can you do that without pointing a finger at them and their weight. And will they take it as guilt? I would have.
I don't know, but I do think that something needs to be done about the problem. Our kids deserve it. Don't they?

Friday, November 09, 2007, 11:43 PM

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I too am trying to change my eating habits because i see how my 9 year old is taking on mom's poor eating habits. For me it's sugar (cakes,cookies,chocolate). I have two adult children 29&21and when I was pregnant with them i prayed that they would not be overweight They adopted some of my habits but lucky for them they inherited dad's body makeup. I have always had alove affair with food. In retrospect I guess I was filling a void. Mom left dad when I was 9 months old. I guess it was hard on my father trying to raise 2 small children (I have an older brother).We were moved around alot between dad and both sets of grandparents.It was harder for me than my brother .Things happened to me during those moves. Food became a comfort like a fix. I am trying now to really face my reasons for sometimes making poor choices when it comes to food before it becomes an issue for my youngest. It has to be do as I do more so than do as I say.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 12:48 AM

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let's not generalize

after having said this, I will expand ...

I think that kids learn from their parents - what they teach them and what they do themselves - which teaches kids on an unconscious level. parents who eat poorly and don't exercise are setting a poor example for their kids.

in my home, I provide lots of fresh foods - lots of cut up veggies and fruits, prepare healthy homecooked meals, talk to them how important it is to fuel their bodies, encourage exercise, do it with them in the form of fun things and I take them to the child care at the gym so they know its just as important for me. I am teaching them by example. BUT I also never restrict them from the over abundance of empty caloried foods around.... they can have junkie things as well, in moderation.. i do take them to mcdonalds - on occasion - not often.. i don';t tell them these things are BAD.. I just unconsciously help them make better choices, educate them and provide them with good food. i dont want them to be forced to clean their plate - like I had to do... if they are not so hungry at dinner, no problem, they can have a bedtime snack of something that is nutritiously sound.... I grew up thin and wasn't obese until I was older - I was obese because of my extreme relationship with food - now I lead by example and don't want my kids to have extreme thinking about food, as I did. I am not overweight anymore and I see that this approach is working for my kids - they eat right and are slim and active.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 2:44 AM

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When I'm at the gym I can see into the pool, and I see more and more kids showing up for their lessons with huge bellies! I mean these are little 6 and 8 and 10 year old boys with tummies hanging over and past the waist of their shorts! This isn't even about emotional eating at that age, because they don't know enough to have hangups yet. This is about a parent seeing a fat little kid and still not saying "no, you cannot have another cookie." Makes me feel so bad for the kids :(

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 2:50 AM

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You can't say that at that young of an age it isn't emotional eating. As a young child I was thin, petite. By the time I was nine I started to eat for comfort.
The abuse started by then as well as I had two parents who were very sick. By the time I was 13 I was obese. And my dad was dead. He fought cancer for years. It takes it's toll on the whole family.
Just because you can't see the cause of emotional eating doesn't mean it isn't there.
I will say that I don't think it is the case for everyone or for everytime we over eat. I think maybe there is an addiction that goes along with it. As well as how the media bombards us with what is soooo good. You have to try it.
Many reasons behind obesity. But I think the best thing we can do for ourselves and our young ones is to teach self acceptance and love. And lead by example. Both with the self love as well as what you choose to eat. And isn't it really the same thing.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 5:29 AM

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2:50 a.m.

I gotta disagree with you there regarding your comment about children as young as 6 years old not being capable of having emotional issues. Kids are very intutive and many know even as infants that things are not "well at home". With SO many kids coming from broken homes it's no wonder there are so many overweight kids who are trying to stuff their feelings of abandoment at such a young age. When a child is 10 years old and weighs "about 200 lbs", it's not just a few extra cookies causing the problem. This boy is seeking to escape his reality (as is his mother) by stuffing their emotions down with food.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 9:44 AM

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I also have to comment on the role of exercise. I live in a small town, and I rarely see anyone walking ANYWHERE. At Halloween, parents were driving their kids door to door (and it was not cold, I was out in a sweater). Just one example of how society in general is less active, and parents pass it on to their children when they drive them everywhere.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 10:19 AM

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I think we have to give parents a little teeny bit of a break here. I'm overweight because of me. I was given heatlhy meals at home, was taught about eating right, and getting exercise. My parents enrolled me in gymnastics and my little sisters in soccer to suit our preferences. But I was overweight at 12. Why? Because I was able to babysit and waste my money on food. I would get steak and cheese subs on the way home from school as young as 5th grade. I loved sweets. And I got most all of them myself (we did have some sweets at home). I craved food for whatever reason. I made myself overweight. I would be very upset if anyone looked at me as a "fat" 12 year old and blamed my wonderful mother.

In the same way, are parents to be blamed for every theif, murderer, and drug user? Sure some are probably guilty of neglect, bad parenting, etc. But people have agency. They do what they want. Even little children.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 3:09 PM

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I think we have to give parents a little teeny bit of a break here. I'm overweight because of me. I was given heatlhy meals at home, was taught about eating right, and getting exercise. My parents enrolled me in gymnastics and my little sisters in soccer to suit our preferences. But I was overweight at 12. Why? Because I was able to babysit and waste my money on food. I would get steak and cheese subs on the way home from school as young as 5th grade. I loved sweets. And I got most all of them myself (we did have some sweets at home). I craved food for whatever reason. I made myself overweight. I would be very upset if anyone looked at me as a "fat" 12 year old and blamed my wonderful mother.

In the same way, are parents to be blamed for every theif, murderer, and drug user? Sure some are probably guilty of neglect, bad parenting, etc. But people have agency. They do what they want. Even little children.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 3:09 PM

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I would just like to direct those who are interested to this article in USA Today about a study that links a mutated gene to how much children eat. Interesting stuff.

Follow link:


Saturday, November 10, 2007, 3:45 PM

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Great Topic!

I have never visited this area and glad I did today. I am really enjoying the posts on this topic.

I know that I am fat b/c of me. I don't blame anyone but looking at my childhood and my younger years I can see why I am the way I am. I did not have positive role models in my life when it came to taking care of your body. Exercise and eating well balanced meals at our house was never done. We ate fried food and did not get exercise at all. We went to McDonald's and had fast food all the time. I watched my Mom Diet over and over and over. I saw how she had little confidence and ate to make herself happy. To this day she is still about 75-100 lbs overweight.

I have recently lost 30 lbs the right way. I finally stopped trying to lose all this weight as fast as possible. I still have about 10-15 more to go and I feel confident that I will get to goal. I am doing it slow and I feel great. I exercise and I eat right and I give myself a treat now and then.

I have two young daughters and I do not talk about weight loss and dieting in front of them. We focus on eating healthy foods and exercise. They have NEVER been to McDonalds and they will not go. That is my choice. I am a busy parent just like everyone else but I make it a point to feed my children with healthy foods. I pack healthy snacks (carrots, apples, raisins, etc) when we are out for the day so we do not give into junk! Yes, I let them have sweets now and then and we order pizza but I really try to limit it. As a parent it is up to me to help them make the right food choices and feel good about themselves.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 4:14 PM

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Personally, I think it's not just "too much food" or too much sugar, or any of the usual arguments. I think the trend of pre-made foods (think M'n'M meat shops) and the like, an over reliance on grains, and the poor quality of the foods we eat (GM, preservative laden, chemical laced, hormone filled, etc) is what is making children fat.

The food we eat, and the absolute ignorance of what we are actually eating, is what is making everyone, kids and adults fat. And I don't think eating pre-made foods that have good looking nutrition labels are helping anyone.

Saturday, November 10, 2007, 5:52 PM

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It's definitely all the sh!t that's in our foods. Kids are eating too much because their systems are all out of wack from the high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, antibiotics, lack of vitamins, and the rest. If we stop feeding our children crap, their systems will return to normal...just like ours! These overweight children are actually malnurished. They're not getting the things they need maintain a healthy diet. It's really sad. I hope to change this and educate parents as my future profession.

On a side note: I met a girl that came over here from Europe. She was staying with her aunt and uncle to help them with their newborn. She said that she had gained almost 15 lbs. in the 2-3 months that she had been over here. In other countries, they don't put all that crap in their foods. They are eating real foods. Our foods were messing up her body. Once she moved back home, the weight came right off.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 11:28 AM

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ALL of us are involved....How do WE change things???

You know, to truly make a difference for children; really, the whole population we need to move beyond "BLAME" and reframe the whole question so it is as follows: What can we do to help people live health promoting lives? or... How can we return to healthy living?

It's a much more complex question so I think people get caught up in the whole blame focus because we are pointing a finger at "what is wrong" and basically nothing changes. How do WE make it right?

That's right...ALL of us are involved in this. How can we make it better for ourselves and everyone else around us?

Monday, November 12, 2007, 6:00 PM

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Re: Sat 3:09 PM

I understand that you are saying blame you, not your mother, but at age 12 if your own money was buying cheese steaks and lots of candy on the way home from school you should have been monitored more closely even if the money was "your own" from babysitting. That is not okay as a parent to be neglectful regarding your children's activities and eating habits. This is what leads to obesity and long term eating problems stemming from childhood. Just a different perspective. Thanks for sharing that information.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 9:04 PM

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How do WE change things?

We buy products that are good for us. We leave the other products at the store. Manufacturers will make what we want. What we buy is our consumer voice. We find other outlets for emotional eating, like doing something good for ourselves. Everyone around us is watching...including our children. Stop hating ourselves. That's not helping and our children pick up on everything and want to be just like us.
These are things everyone can do... and that's just a start.

Monday, November 12, 2007, 10:06 PM

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I think understanding how the problem arises in children is a start, then making changes from there.

I totally agree with watching what we eat, not just calories and fat, but WHAT is it we are actually eating, reading ingredients. Most foods that target children are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, fat, preservatives, caffiene even, and other chemically altered ingredients. For parents, it's easy to serve these, especially those that work full time - this is just a generalization.

Start by teaching them to eat nutritious things and steer clear of the junk, don't even bring it into your home. Next, get them moving!!! Limit television and video games, even the computer, unless it's for school work.

Parents, SET THE EXAMPLE! Children are watching your every move and learning from you, make sure they are learning things that will impact them in the most positive way in life!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 1:21 PM

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My side to the story

I would like to comment on the comments here. I have a daughter that is 7 years old and weighs 103 lbs. She is 4 foot 8. Any way, my husband and I have done every thing in our power to get her weight under control. For example: nutritionist, genetic Dr., Primary care dr. endocrine Dr, personal trainers, gymnastics, dance lessons, exercise equipment, organic foods, a very strict, diet, and constant love support. She has every thing she needs, great school, family, love , attention and we are never critical to her and teach her in a loving way about food choices. Despit the fact the the Drs can not find anythind wrong and tell us that we are doing everthing right, and way more than the average parent would do , there are no answers or progress. My family can not accept her weight and still think that It has to be my fault. I am tired of explaining to them. They are critical,, but would never dare try to help in any way. I am an educated person in a l oving marriage. My husband and I take care of ourselves and are not overweight. My child seems to be doomed to a life of being teased and unaccepted if she does not out grow this. It is easy jugde if you have not been in this situation. I am constanty explaining to other parents all my efforts because I know what they are thinking. It is awful to live this way, and I never saw this coming in my life, as obesity does not run in my family. Any comments are welcome.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 9:50 PM

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I feel for you 9:50. I have a young child who loves to eat, always asking for a snack a half hour after lunch, always says she's hungry after she's just eaten, etc. - I sometimes envy parents who have picky eaters! I feel like I'm constantly working to get my kid away from food unlike my friends who are constantly trying to get their kids to eat, although I'm sure that's not fun, either.

Anyway, I do feel for you. I have so many questions about your situation, but I ask you to consider one thing and maybe it's something you already do, but please be very, very careful about discussing anything about your daughter's eating or weight in her presence - even with doctors - even if you think she's not listening. In fact, don't do it at all - ever. And if you're talking about it with her friend's parents, consider that it could get back to her. Who knows, maybe they use your daughter as an example to their kids as to why 'you shouldn't eat that cupcake.' Hopefully not, but you never know and that will get back to your daughter. And that will ensure that food is a huge issue in her life for a long, long time. Nothing like having parents (and extended family) being concerned about your weight. As hard as it may be, perhaps it's time to make it a non-issue in your family. Is that possible?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 10:15 PM

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you are obviously doing something wrong. You cannot be following the doctors' advice if she is still overweight. Just do not allow her to eat the junk. It is simple math, just like it is for us. We can know all the right things but at the end of the day if we eat crap we feel crappy.
You have to be strict with her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 10:45 PM

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I'm sure you have thought of this, but what about her thyroid?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 10:19 AM

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Parents are Killing Their Kids .....

What gets me is the number of parents that are too lazy to teach and discipline their kids so that they develop good eating habits. They would sooner cave and stop at the McDonalds, Burger King ....... rather than manage through a child's temper tantrum.
Or the parent who really doesn't understand that they are killing their child with food. I was in a grocery store waiting in line as this very obese woman was loading the food on the belt, ALL Processed, Junk Food. 4 frozen pizzas, lasagna, processed hamburgers, chips, cookies, soda (4 cases), not a SINGLE fresh fruit or vegetable to be seen. Her son - probably 5 - 7 years old and easily 150lbs, was whinning about wanting one of the chocolate bars at the check-out. The mother ignored the kid as she was loading the belt until the kids screamed at the top of his lungs and started kicking the cart, the mother grabbed the BOX of individual hersheys and put them on the belt, and proceeded to unwrap one and shove it in the kids mouth. I was never so speechless in my life. I mean I couldn't even move, let alone say anything. So, in instances such as this - yes absolutly it is the parents fault 100%

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 5:51 PM

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9.50, there must be something wrong with her, or else you/she are doing something wrong, i'm sorry, but that's the truth of it.

and a question that might be taken the wrong way, but i don't mean it nastily. are you yourself overweight? your husband?

no offense, but if you're putting your daughter on a strict diet, and then you yourself are not eating healthily, then nothing will work.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 6:58 PM

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thank s for the response

I am responding to the commnets that were made after I posted last night about my 7 year old daughter. I'm glad that I posted on this site because now I know what people really are thinking. It's amazing to me that some of you said that you simply don't believe me, and then asked if I was overweight. I wrote in the strory that I am not overweight and have never been. But that shows that people don't listen before responding. I have had her thyroid checked and everything possible there is to check, including genetic testing. I do understand that ther are parents out there that do not take care of their children when it comes to this problem. It is a constant minute to minute battle. Your child must bring their own lunch to school, you can never miss a function at school because they alswys give thd kids junk for parties. Your child always feels left out because the other children can have cake and icecream at parties. My child is the youngest person at our gym with a personl trainer. she is the youngest person on the exercise equipment. But anyway, I guess I'll just have to be strong and not let other people's comments bother me.. It's one thing if you are neglecting your child, but that is not the case here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 9:23 PM

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Me too

Hey 9:23, I'm in the same boat. I have one daughter who is slim and one who has been overweight since she was less than a year old. This suggestion has been made several other times on this site, but I strongly recommend Dance Dance Revolution to you (video game with a floor pad). We have also had some success with a trampoline, swimming pool and badminton. At 7, I tried to skip rope with her as much as I could. If I could get her to do nothing else, I would take her shopping and so she would have to at least walk. I didn't try to restrict calories with her until she was 12. We went with a modified low carb diet (just no sugar, no white flour). It worked initially, but she decided at some point that she'd had enough and just refuses to participate in any form of diet now. At 14, she is still overweight, but less so than when she was younger.

My view was that our biggest obstacle was her inactivity rather than her eating. How often does your daughter go to the gym and what does she do with her trainer? Will she participate in any physical activity without being asked/told to?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 11:19 PM

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My daughter's best friend lost 45 pounds over a summer with dance dance revolution (DDR) - he was 14 then and played it for hours each day. He was always the 'fat kid' in elementary school. ... it changed his life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 11:40 PM

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your 7 yr old.

a gym with trainers? you are doing all you can physically. dr.s, provinding correct food. but please please please accept your child the way she is. you write about what a pain this is for YOU to do deal with. she needs to know she is accepted the way she is.

Thursday, December 13, 2007, 2:08 AM

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I think that maybe the parent expresses her own personal pain because she is suffering for her child knowing the ridicule, and insults that the child opens herself up to by being overweight not to mention the health issues. If you know your child is dying, do you just let it happen, or do you do everything in your power to try to change that outcome?

Thursday, December 13, 2007, 8:22 AM

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My 7 year old daughter

I do want to say that I love my daughter and do accept her.
She is so beautiful and smart and the light of my life. I never tell her negative things about her weight. The only thing that we do talk aobut is that healthy foods are good for your body and that junk food is bad. She is very smart and aware for her age and has been teased at school. She knows that she is bigger than her friends and she says she wants to be skinny like them. I just tell that god made everybody different, and that all we can do is take the best care of our selves and eat right and do fun activity.I always tell her how beautiful she is..In fact .I tell her that everyone is beautiful and unique and special and to never make fun of anyone. My daughter does love her dance classes, gymnastic classes, her personal trainer and the exercise equipment. she thinks it is so much fun. She never wants to leave the gym. She may be overweight but her legs and arms are solid muscle.

Saturday, December 15, 2007, 12:55 AM

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My 7 year old daughter

I forgot to answer the question about her activity schedule.. On Monday she does an one hour and 1/2 dance class, Tuesday walks and ride bike with my husband,wednesday 30 minutes with trainer than uses eliptical trainer, trampoline, Thurday one hour gymnastics class, Friday 2 hour open gym night for kids. This is the basic schedule.. I give her a break when she wants it, but mostly she like to go.. SHe is the only child and there is no other children in our neighborhood for her to play with after school. Also on the weekends we try to get some activity.

Saturday, December 15, 2007, 1:05 AM

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Your 7 year old daughter

11:19 here. I am stunned by the amount of activity that she is participating in. I have no doubt that if I could have gotten my daughter to be that active, she would have grown into her weight eventually. Has she had this kind of schedule for long? Has her weight gain stabilized?

Sunday, December 16, 2007, 9:47 PM

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7 year old daugher

My daughter has had some weeks during the year that she miissed her exercise do to illhess or my illness{Ihave undergone back surgery this year). When she misses her exercise she immediatly gains weight. Also after my back surgery, I was not in complete control of her eatng and exercise for a few weeks and she gained weight without the strict diet. My sister's children are all thin and they eat more than my daughter does on any given day. I just don't understand.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 12:07 AM

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Have you tried cutting wheat (including whole wheat) out of her diet? I gain weight the second I eat it. And no amount of exercising will make me lose weight if I'm eating wheat. It's an intolerance, not an allergy, as there's no histamine response. I'd say give that a try.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 1:09 AM

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Mom of 7 year many calories does your daughter consume in one day? Girls need 2000 calories for a 7-10 year old. Do you count calories? It didn't sound to me like she is getting a crazy amount of exercise. Have you considered some sports like soccer, or skating, where they are exercising/practicing 5-10 hours per week (only works if they are having fun of course).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 1:12 AM

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my 7 year old

Shae eats approx. 1500 calories a day. She does take vitamins and calcium on the days she doesnt want milk, etc. On special occasions, for example her birhtday party , she will have more calories, but this not the norm. She does not want to try soccer, but she does want to try softball which we will in the spring. I agree that she is not getting a crazy amount of exercise. Maybe if we lived on a farm wtih a lot of siblings and they ran around all day and didn'nt realize that was exercise , she would be in better shape. But I am doing the absolute best I can with an only child and the fact that I can not exercise with her due to my back injury.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007, 11:37 PM

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Weight is a Family affair-- Giving importance to learning to give your children what they need and how to give it to them so they will respond to it. Thought goes into action and then it is brought to goal with God's help. Be humble enough to get it from the best. Trust -- That word grows to fulfillment.just like Hope Love and Faith.

Saturday, February 09, 2008, 8:00 PM

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Those kids really have fun and lose weight with those dance program with the floor pad.

Saturday, February 09, 2008, 8:08 PM

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If possible, have your child enrolled in a sport for every season. Soccer is good because it's cheap and has an extremely long season. :) Good winter sports are figure skating, hockey, dance, gymnastics. Summer sports are easy. Just go outside! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008, 1:56 PM

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Fat Parents=Fat Kids

Children learn their eating habits from their adults. If the adults have bad habits so will the children in most cases. When I was growing up my Mother would hear the refrigerator door open and say "What are you getting?" I would say "A cupcake" She would say "No, get an apple" Then she would make us go outside. We walked to our friends homes, played kickball in the alley rode our bikes until the street lights went on. Let your kids be kids and not captives to the fact you have to keep an eye on them or something might happen. Hey try going outside with them.

Monday, February 11, 2008, 11:02 AM

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Totally Agree 11:02

Parents are lazier today then they were I was kid. It is easier to let the t.v., video game, computer babysit the kids, and it is easier to just let the kids eat what they want instead of arguing with them about what they should not eat.

I think the blame rests on the followings shoulders:
1 - parents
2 - schools

Monday, February 11, 2008, 2:58 PM

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PP why would the schools be held accountable at all? Is it their job to make sure each child is provided a healthy lunch? NO it is the parent's job. Everyone knows cafeteria food isn't very healthy. That's why my Mom sent me to school with a lunch box!

Monday, February 11, 2008, 6:48 PM

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