Sunday, September 23, 2012

Child Hood Obesity -- what to do about it?

Lap Band Gal blogged about being able to fit into a large child's sweater and wondered if the manufactures are designing/selling clothes that are cut bigger in order to accommodate the children of our nation who are becoming overweight and obese at alarming rates.

This is a subject dear to my heart for two reasons. One, my capstone project was how to teach school nurses how to teach about obesity prevention.  And secondly, my younger son is overweight.  His last blood work also indicated he's becoming insulin resistant.  It's scary. He's ten. It's also scary because although he needs help with portion control, he's a healthy eater.  He exercises daily (swim team, karate and on days he doesn't do that he is starting to do 20 minutes on the elliptical).  He is the unfortunate recipient of my wonderful genes.  If he actually liked foot ball, coaches would drool over him (he's tall and part of his weight is because he has some serious muscle mass on his thighs, chest and shoulders -- but I'm not kidding myself, he also has a tummy and chubby, adorable cheeks).  Because we are afraid of him developing diabetes at an early age we're putting more things in place for him. Instead of school lunches we pack his. We've nixed grazing and preplanned snacks are now the order of the day. We're reducing refined carbs to a couple a day and increasing his fruits and vegetables even more. We've reduced his 'sugar' days from the whole weekend to one day a week and on special occasions. He's on board. He understands that diabetes could be in his future and he does not want this to happen to him.

We go back in December to take a look at his blood work and see if his weight has maintained (the goal is to keep his weight the same and just let him grow into it).

So these to things, especially the second are what make me interested in ways to help the young make healthier choices.  I can't change the world, but I'm lucky that I'm in a position of a school nurse and I can give the kiddos information as they come into my clinic for various reasons.

My big thing right now is sugary drinks.  It's crazy what our kids are consuming.  This New York Times Article  was very interesting. It's about two different studies that show staying away from sugary drinks such as sodas and juices help children lose weight.  Such a simple thing.  I made this poster for the hallway outside the clinic.  Not only are the adults liking it, I get comments from some of the kids that they aren't going to drink certain drinks any more because of it.  Here's a picture:
 Meanwhile...I'm also really excited to share....Isaac's new big boy Karate-Americana bedroom....We finally finished can read all about and see pictures here on my other blog, Zimmerhouse.


  1. Love the idea of the visual for the poster!

    Our school lunches aare actually pretty healthy. I can't say that all of it tastes great...but it's pretty healthy :)

  2. OMG, that's a lot of sugar :( Great post my friend!

  3. I DO think they've changed the sizes...even as recently as the last couple years. My daughter is 7 but still wears a size 5/6 Regular. Size 7 Slim SOMETIMES fit. The problem is the clothes are too...kiddy...and too short for her. She wants stuff more stylish now but they're still way too loose in the waste for her. She hasn't changed sizes in 2 years?!?! Somehow I doubt it because she's growing like weed. Great post!

  4. shoot I think they have changed the adult sizes to also be the visual poster!

  5. We did a special science program on nutrition at the school, and to be honest, I was leery because I always have a knee-jerk worry as someone who over-reacted the other way with eating disorders (restricting) as a kid, because I was so afraid of being fat. But we did things like that - had visuals of kids being able to see the sugar amounts in various foods, also had tables where they could try all kinds of foods of different colors (veggies and fruits, etc) and encouraged them to "eat the rainbow".

    Also taught them how to read nutrition labels (which I didn't want to trigger paranoid calorie counting...) but it was a good program.

    I guess what balanced idea is, is that "knowledge is power". Sort of like sex education. You give the right amount at the right age. If you give no information, you get kids being reckless - overeating, or maybe diet pills and wacko ways of trying to control weight. Teach them easy ways to make good choices.

    We also showed the idea of half the plate fruits and veggies, one quarter protein, one quarter carbs. Simple tools.