K.W. asks from Eugene, OR on November 27, 2006
9-Year Old Son Is Becoming Overweight
I have a 9-year old son, our youngest. He's always been a big kid- he's about 4'8" and (don't have a scale at home) probably around 100, 110 lbs. He's been in the 90 to 95th percentile of size since he was born, and he's not just "fat", he's a big, strong, muscular kid- for his age has broad shoulders, really quite strong. His dad is pretty big- 6'1", about 220. (I'm petite, only 5'1").
I am getting concerned, though, as he's developing some 'belly fat' that I thought he was growing out of- he seemed to be getting chubby a year or so ago then hit a height growth spurt and slimmed down. But this time, he seems to be gaining rather quickly, and I *don't* want to make food an issue, but *do* want to ensure that he doesn't develop weight problems.
We don't have the healthiest diet ever, but not the worst either. We could eat less pizza and fast food, but we do snack on fruit and granola, etc. rather than candy and ice cream. I would like to cut out soda and red meat, but my husband won't go for that(and if it's in the house, how can I tell my son 'no' if he sees Dad having Coke with dinner, and he can't? Not sure how to deal with that.
I'm not a cook; I prepare meals because we have to eat. Cooking is NOT my thing; if it' complicated and time-consuming I probably won't do it. I work a lot, love my job, etc., but I need to put some energy into educating myself about this so I can change my family's diet if I have to, and ideas to deal with my son's potential weight issue would be helpful.
He is diagnosed ADD and ADHD, is on Adderall(which helps him a LOT, like night and day when it comes to focusing on things). I don't believe that weight gain is a side effect, but if anyone's seen that, let me know, ok?
So What Happened?™
A few things we've decided to do:
1) He's taking over walking the dog, and coming with me and the dog on our long walks.
2) signed up for Kidsports Basketball this winter season (starts Dec.11!).
3) not buying icecream and cookies; he is happy with oranges (those little Satsuma mandarins are in season, and cheap for a big box) and bananas. Also making sure we're having more veggies/ less starch with meals.
I'm not sure about the soda thing. I have to admit, I like Coke w/dinner too. And personally I really dislike the aftertaste in diet sodas. I am trying to limit to one glass with dinner a day. That is less than he's been having, and over time I can reduce that further. I think it's just going to take more supervision on my part than I have been providing.
So we're just doing the basics...not making a big deal about "weight loss", getting more exercise, and making some simple and thus far painless changes to our diet.
We'll see how it goes.
Thanks all who responded; I'll keep you all posted as to how it works out. It is also true that he didn't start getting bigger around the middle until his height growth slowed down a bit, and it could be that when he starts to get taller again, that in combination with the positive changes we are trying to make, he will slim down. I think he'll always be a big kid, and grow into a big man; I just want him to be a healthy and lean big guy with some good eating habits.
It is *hard* to maintain for myself though! I work a lot, don't like to cook...I'm not very domestic. I like to spend my free time playing with the kids, not planning meals and grocery shopping. I am making an effort to put more energy into it though.
T.K. answers from Portland on November 28, 2006
My daughter is exactly the same. She is 9 and about the same height/weight. Anything you lean, please pass it on! So far, I only get sugar-free koolaid, sugar free candy only, diet sodas, and the like, but she is super picky when it comes to meals. She will only gravitate towards the starchy, high simple-carb meals. I don't know what else to do; it's virtually impossible to get any outside exercise in the winter here, as we can't even afford a YMCA membership. :(
K.O. answers from Portland on November 27, 2006
Maybe look into some of the food preparation ideas for diabetics. I'm almost certain they have much healthier diets, and there has to be some easy cooking ideas for them... Just a thought.
A.H. answers from Phoenix on November 27, 2006
My brother has add and touch of teretts. they did all sorts of cat scanns on him and everything when he was younger. I do remember him getting bigger when he was'nt in groth spurt mode. Kids are weird. they get short and fat then tall and skinny then short and fat then tall and skinny. It's just part of growing up. at 9 years old it's not bad to be 100 lbs. it's bad at age 5 to be 100 lbs. Don't worrie about him. I found that crystal light it better than pop if it comes to it. then if he complains let him know when he turns 18 he can drink whatever he wants with dinner. until then it's crystal light. let him pick out the flavors and I like the ginaric ones best becuase they arent as sweet/sour. but kids have week taste buds so the more sweet the better. just don't make it koolaid. that has sugar and crystal light does'nt also it's better for his teeth to not have carbanation. it eats at them like acid. (thats what my dentist said) As for the chubby thing. I'm sure he's fine. get him a basket ball net for christmas and he'll go outside more. it worked for me and my brother.
V.D. answers from Seattle on November 27, 2006
you should ask your doctor if that is a side effect. as for the snacks. granola is actually a really bad snack, you would be surprised how much sugar is in it. also, you can get fast food and pizza a little better for you. for instance, get chicken on your pizza instead of pepperoni, and load it up with veggies. there are a lot of fast food places that have good food, for instance, subway instead of mcdonalds. not only does subway have much healthier options, but it's cheaper and probably more filling.
S.M. answers from Chico on November 27, 2006
Have you and your husband sat down and discussed your concerns about your son? Does your husband think there is an issue or not? If he doesn't, you can't make him change his ways but I assume that you are "in charge" of the menu, right?? You can make the changes needed, just don't make it an issue. If he does think it's an issue, does he realize that his son will want to mirror him? and doesn't he want what is best for his son?
Just to share with you what my husband is dealing with at 34 years old: He's 6'4" and weighs almost 300 lbs. When he was 9, his father (who is a doctor, mind you! grrr) put him on a diet. He made exercising a chore and made food all the more alluring by taking anything that tasted good (candy, cookies, etc) away, therefore, forcing a 9 y.o. boy to horde food in his room. To this day, my husband has food issues. He doesn't know how to eat right and doesn't know how to do portion control. He feels like working out is "work" and although he knows he should do it, doesn't like to.
So, my advice to you would be to slowly modify your and your family's diet. Buy healthier cookies/ice cream and adapt the "anything in moderation, nothing in excess" motto that we follow in our home. I find that if I take the snacks out of their original package and break them up into separate ziplock baggies, we don't eat as many in one sitting. And buying only a 6pk of sodas instead of a case at a time. It took me three years to get my husband to stop drinking ONLY coffee and diet sodas...but now he drinks water mostly, one or two cups of coffee a day and maaaybe a soda a week with lunch.
I understand about cooking not being your thing...I'd much rather go out to eat myself...but I have found that Rachel Ray and her 30-minute meals are FANTASTIC! Easy and delicious. There is another lady on the Food Network that does "Semi-homemade" things...her recipes are good, too. One more cookbook that I have is from a series called "Gooseberry Patch"...easy and tasty and most ingredients are things you'd have in your pantry.
The other thing is, since your son is nearing puberty...which could be a cause of the weight gain...instead of making food an "enemy", take walks with him, get outside and play active games. Go biking together, etc. make exercise fun. It won't hurt you or your husband and it will make exercise more appealing to your son if it isn't "hard" and is a family activity. If your husband doesn't want to get on board, fine. Just make the decision for you and your son and stick with it.
Basically, the way I look at it is that if you do the grocery shopping...you're in charge of what your family eats. If your husband refuses to give up the sodas, etc. Fine, but they don't need to be available to your son...grown ups do a lot of things that kids shouldn't.
And to add that I am not giving my advice without thought, my son is 10mos old and outweighs his friends who are 2-6 months older than he...he's 25lbs! So, I have the same concern for my boy which is why I am trying to make the dietary changes now! :)
Good luck and I hope that knowing my/my husbands situation helps!
J.D. answers from Spokane on November 27, 2006
One thing you need to know, when babies are born big, and "chunky" they store the fat cells for later in life. this simply means one thing, he will ALWAYS have to worry about his weight. Most likely the weight issues will get worse around puberty, as your doctor will tell you. Soda needs to be remove 100% whether your hunny likes it or not. High Fructose Corn Syrup produces chemicals that alter the brain and convince the body it is still hungry, causing the person to consume MORE food that it does not need.
I will suggest this (my degree covers basic nutrition and diet) He needs to do more activites, he needs to increase his vegatable intake to darker colors of fruit and veggies. Change the carbs to whole grains ONLY!! Barilla makes a great pasta"plus" that has added omega acids and the less strches, the better. Reduce the amounts of carbs, soda and sugary foods. Its not hard at all, it just takes a slight dedication, and honestly, not many of the "healthier" options taste different then the original foods.
Tell your husband if this continues, it will only be worse for your son. Especially since he has ADHD. A good diet will decrease the brain chemicals for that issue as well.
You dont have to alter your way of cooking, just choose healthier options, and in my opinion, you may need to see a nutritionist, they are the best way to getting out of the habits your family has put themselves into.....
T.J. answers from Portland on November 19, 2007
I am sorry to hear that your having this weight problem with child it seemsd that this generation that is a big issue. I was having that problem with myself and i saw that i was eating out alot and not watching what i ate. So then my kids were doing the same thing and my middle child is a little over weight. I have had to get online a look up some healthy recipts for food and try to make them for the time you can look up clow cooker reciepts that you can start and just let them cook all day. THat is what i had to do i work alot as well 12 to 16 hours shifts it is very hard to find time to cook a healthy meal. I have prepared meals the night before or even aon the weekends and taht way they just have to be put in the oven and they will be done. also look at the fact if he is getting enough exercise and the other hard thing is with it being winter finding things to do active inside is just making sure he is not sitting infront ofd the tv all day and stuff like that well best of luck let me know how it turns out for you.
C.W. answers from Bakersfield on November 30, 2006
I too have a 9yr old that is getting chubby. With my son its more about keeping him busy so he doesnt want to eat so much. He doesnt eat alot but eats often. We are limiting his snacking and hopefully that will help. My first two didnt have this problem so I am not sure how to deal with it either. If you find something that works let me know too!!!
M.A. answers from Los Angeles on March 18, 2007
My 9yr old started to add a weight around 9. He is turning 10 in June. He started to get "man boobies". He eats all the time. He is a very healthy eater, but I do have to watch the kid of food he does eat. We no longer have a snack drawer. Whenever he wants to eat I always have a fruit bowl. I also have replaced the puddings, yogarts, sugar fruit juices, and soda's with string cheese, flavored water (which he loves) and he makes his own turkey w/ wheat bread himself. He has slimmed down, but I know he does need he weight because he is very active in sports and needs the energy. It took a while for him to get use to the fact that those were his only choices, but if he is really hungry he will eat what is available. Now my son does not have ADHD so I am unsure of how food effects him. You really need to talk to a nutritonist who deals with ADHD. Sometimes certain foods affects them differently and you don't even know it. My motto is your body craves what you feed it. If you eat sugar you will crave it. If you eat fiber and protein you will crave it.
M.Q. answers from Bakersfield on November 30, 2006
when you feed him mak sure you feed him befor 8.00 o clock because that how he gains weight fast.