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  #1  
May 3rd, 2007, 10:24 PM
babiesrus
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Hey there, good evening all. Got a question for you. Is it always a parent's fault if a child is overweight? I have 4 kids. My daughter is overweight, my son is quite small and my other 2 are "average". I've been reading a lot about the obesity issue for kids. Is it a true epidemic? Do you believe it's always the parent's fault? Is it okay to encourage my daughter to be more "healthy" or talk honestly with her about weight issues? These things are bothering her. She is 9, nearly 10. She was crying today about being the overweight one in her class and I tried my best to help her but . . . it seems no matter what I said today it wasn't the right response. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
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  #2  
May 3rd, 2007, 10:46 PM
SusieQ2's Avatar Jersey Girl
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No, I don't think it is always the parent's fault. Sometimes there are hormonal or other medical issues that can cause a child to be overweight. This may be the cause in your daughter's case especially considering that your other two children are the same size.

I do think parents can be to blame in a lot of cases. People tend to be very uneducated about healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise.

I think the best thing to do especially since your daughter is upset, would be to talk to her doctor. Have her checked out to see if there is a medical cause for her being overweight. Maybe the Dr can give you some suggestions.

I also wanted to add that I work with kids her age. That seems to be the age where girls tend to put on a little weight. I think it is part of getting ready for puberty.
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  #3  
May 3rd, 2007, 11:01 PM
babiesrus
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No, I don't think it is always the parent's fault. Sometimes there are hormonal or other medical issues that can cause a child to be overweight. This may be the cause in your daughter's case especially considering that your other two children are the same size.

I do think parents can be to blame in a lot of cases. People tend to be very uneducated about healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise.

I think the best thing to do especially since your daughter is upset, would be to talk to her doctor. Have her checked out to see if there is a medical cause for her being overweight. Maybe the Dr can give you some suggestions.

I also wanted to add that I work with kids her age. That seems to be the age where girls tend to put on a little weight. I think it is part of getting ready for puberty.[/b]

She is definitely in the throes of puberty right now . . . can't wait for that.

I agree that parents tend to be uneducated and there is so much food out there that is simply not good for us. I have debated this myself wondering if it's because her metabolism is slower maybe she just can't eat the processed stuff like the others. The other 3 are boys, maybe that's a difference? I also think I could definitely encourage the exercise thing more . . . but not "exercise".

Anyone ever see "Honey We're Killing the Kids"? It bothers me how they make the kids look like serial killers as they age because of poor eating habits and then like superstars after the eating habits have changed.
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  #4  
May 4th, 2007, 03:30 AM
thepinkleprechaun's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I think unless there is an underlying medical issue that is causeing the child to be overweight then....well if it isn't the parent's fault whose is it? I mean, a lot of girls get chubby when they're in middle school and hit puberty, but it goes away in a year or two. But come on...like a 6 year old can't go to the grocery store and choose what he's gonna eat! A little kid can't drive himself to McDonald's and get a double cheeseburger! I see a lot of fat kids that have fat parents (usually at mcdonalds or a restaurant) and it makes me wonder.
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  #5  
May 4th, 2007, 06:33 AM
babiesrus
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I think unless there is an underlying medical issue that is causeing the child to be overweight then....well if it isn't the parent's fault whose is it? I mean, a lot of girls get chubby when they're in middle school and hit puberty, but it goes away in a year or two. But come on...like a 6 year old can't go to the grocery store and choose what he's gonna eat! A little kid can't drive himself to McDonald's and get a double cheeseburger! I see a lot of fat kids that have fat parents (usually at mcdonalds or a restaurant) and it makes me wonder.[/b]
You know what, I am probably one of those fat parents. What I find interesting is that my girl can eat a cheeseburger and gain weight but my sons eat 2 and nothing, they almost lose weight. It seems like we, as women, are doomed from the start.

I agree, it can be poor eating habits via the family. But if you saw our family, you would have to wonder a bit. I am overweight but my sons and husband are not . . .

I appreciate your candor and honesty.

I do try to encourage my daughter to feel good about herself, regardless of her weight, but outside pressures are beginning to have more of an impact. It's silly but the thing I worry most about now is telling her we need to change things for her and having her develop an eating disorder because I seem focussed on her weight. It's a catch-22. How would you approach the topic if it were your child?
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  #6  
May 4th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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I do try to encourage my daughter to feel good about herself, regardless of her weight, but outside pressures are beginning to have more of an impact. It's silly but the thing I worry most about now is telling her we need to change things for her and having her develop an eating disorder because I seem focussed on her weight. It's a catch-22. How would you approach the topic if it were your child?[/b]
Honestly, my opinion is that you should NOT encourage dieting. Many adults are yo-yo dieters and struggle with their weight their whole lives, often developing eating disorders.

I think you should not focus on her weight, her looks, her diet. Focus on other things. Her other interests. Her social life, etc. If she gets a hard time at school, just be supportive. It sounds like you are doing this anyway. Just do other things to build her self esteem so she feels good about herself and so that she has an identity of her own that doesn't revolve around her LOOKS.

If she is a little bit chubby, it really doesn't matter, and odds are it will go away on its own when she hits puberty.

If she is severly overweight, then I would talk to a doctor or have her talk to a doctor.

The only other suggestion is that if she has an interest that involves physical activity (such as dance, or hiking, etc) I would encourage her to pursue that. But if she is not interested in those types of things, no biggie, I would not push the issue.
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  #7  
May 4th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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I wouldn't say it's always the parents' fault but in many cases it unfortunately is. If there is a medical reason that the child is overweight, then it is not the parents' fault but they should still be encouraging a healthy lifestyle. My plan as my daughter gets older is to set a good example for her by making healthy choices. I want her to see that a balanced diet and exercise is the way to go from the start. I think in our culture everything is expected to be fast. We are always on the go which leads to a poor diet, and our children suffer because of it. In moderation fast food isn't a big deal, but the key is moderation.

That being said, I grew up with a mother who constantly belittled me about my body (even when I was at a healthy weight) and hated her own body and I think that has a lot to do with me personally being overweight. I have never loved my body enough to take good care of it I have made it my main priority to make sure my daughter doesn't go through the same thing.
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  #8  
May 4th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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I believe it is 'almost' always the parents fault, even if they don't realize what they are doing to perpetuate the problem(unless a medical problem). Some parents allow children to have lots of juice without thinking about how many calories are in it and how it adds up.

I don't hold it against anyone, it is very difficult to raise children perfectly.. As for you situation, your kids may very well have different metabolisms and shouldn't be eating similarly. And you asked how you could suggest it to her (about her weight)---I don't know. But whatever you do -- avoid what my mother did because it just made it harder to lose weight. She reminded me EVERY day several times a day that I had a roll, or my pants were getting tight, or my face looked like a moon. I think a more supportive, less critical technique would work better.
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  #9  
May 4th, 2007, 07:08 AM
7/07Mommy
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Babiesrus, I appreciate that you are concerned with your daughter's situation and have opened the topic up for debate. I hope my response isn't offensive to you or anyone else. My opinion isn't intended to bash anyone or do anything other than answer the question posed in the title of this thread.

I have to admit that when I see an overweight child with an overweight parent, I do feel very badly for the child and I find myself getting angry with the parent.
Barring a medical reason, I do believe it is primarily the parents' fault for not encouraging healthy eating and physical activity in their children.
Unfortunately, our society contributes to the problem as well. When I grew up in the 70's and 80's, kids didn't watch nearly as much t.v. We spent almost all of our time outdoors, running, playing, riding bikes. Fast food and processed food weren't quite as prevalent as they are today. If a child is being raised in this society without the benefit of a parent who encourages healthy habits, they are going to be at risk for obesity and all of the associated health and emotional problems.

edited for typo
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  #10  
May 4th, 2007, 07:58 AM
glasscandie's Avatar What I make is what I am
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Quote:
Anyone ever see "Honey We're Killing the Kids"? It bothers me how they make the kids look like serial killers as they age because of poor eating habits and then like superstars after the eating habits have changed.[/b]
lol It's true! That show creeps me out though.

ETA: It's true that they make the people look like serial killers/movie stars - NOT that overweight people look like serial killers
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  #11  
May 4th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
But whatever you do -- avoid what my mother did because it just made it harder to lose weight. She reminded me EVERY day several times a day that I had a roll, or my pants were getting tight, or my face looked like a moon. I think a more supportive, less critical technique would work better.[/b]
I agree. This is a terrible thing to do/say to a child.
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  #12  
May 4th, 2007, 08:36 AM
babiesrus
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Thanks everyone. I did open this topic up for debate and I appreciate all of the responses. I think I really to need to re-evaluate things here at home as far as eating is concerned. She is not grossly overweight, is built like her mother, me, and is becoming insecure about it. She has given me clues that perhaps she feels I need her to be perfect, even though I try awfully hard not to do so.

For some reason I never thought of the different metabolism thing . . . duh!

As far as the t.v. watching and what not, I agree, I think that there are too many things available to help children remain idle. If I tell my kids to go out and play, they look at me like I am speaking a different language.

I want you all to know I do not take your opinions as anything but that, your opinions. I appreciate everyone's honesty. I asked and am getting some great responses.

I think there are definitely things that I can do to change it up, without making it seem like I am trying to change her. Perhaps the entire family needs to undergo some healthy changes. I do not want to focus on her weight . . . she is a beautiful girl both inside and out and I want her to feel like she can be a confident, happy young lady, no matter her size. She's got a heart of gold and a great sense of humour.

It astounds me how even at a young age that the weight issue can become a problem . . . there are girls in her class who are constantly talking about how they are too thing or don't look right. These are 9 year old girls. Very, very sad.
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  #13  
May 4th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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I have 4 children as well. My oldest daughter just turned ten. She is not overweight but is larger then other girls in her class. She wont wear certain clothing because she says it shows her big belly. My husband, and other 3 children are thin as rails. My seven year old son weighs 40 pounds, he is tiny! I am normally very thin but, gained some weight during my pregnancies. We all eat exactly the same foods. We buy all whole wheat breads and pastas, and very rarely have junk food. My point is, why is she big for her age if the rest of us arent? I dont think it is always the parents fault! I think its just puberty to be honest with you. If children are fat and so are the parents, then ya its probably lifestyle.
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  #15  
May 4th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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To this day I feel 'not good enough' for my mother. I feel as though I will never meet her standards. So really be careful with how you tell her.

I think that one of the best methods to go about this(not sure if you could eat healthier or are overweight) is to be a good example. If you say "I'm going to use the light butter tonight because I need to lose a couple pounds"--she may follow suit. A lifestyle change for the family is a great method. Telling her that SHE needs to change is only going to hurt her feelings and possibly stress her into gaining more weight.
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  #16  
May 4th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
You know what, I am probably one of those fat parents. What I find interesting is that my girl can eat a cheeseburger and gain weight but my sons eat 2 and nothing, they almost lose weight. It seems like we, as women, are doomed from the start.

I agree, it can be poor eating habits via the family. But if you saw our family, you would have to wonder a bit. I am overweight but my sons and husband are not . . .

I appreciate your candor and honesty.

I do try to encourage my daughter to feel good about herself, regardless of her weight, but outside pressures are beginning to have more of an impact. It's silly but the thing I worry most about now is telling her we need to change things for her and having her develop an eating disorder because I seem focussed on her weight. It's a catch-22. How would you approach the topic if it were your child?[/b]
Yeah, hey I wasn't trying to make you feel bad or anything lol! I still need to loose 20 lbs of preggo weight so yah.
But with your daughter, all I would do is encourage her to exercise, and maybe join a sports team or dance or something. As long as she's active and healthy that's all that matters.
Oh, and Curves is actually a really fun thing that you could do together, I know your daughter would only be $10 a month if you were a member, and I've seen a lot of mother/daughter teams in there.

ETA: I totally agree about women being doomed too. We get the crappy metabolisms!
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  #17  
May 4th, 2007, 04:13 PM
MJ27
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I will give my 2 cents. If you want to encourage your child to have a healthier lifestyle, you could both start one together (or include the whole family). So I would focus on healthy food and eating balanced meals with lots of vegetables. Then you could exercise together, not focus on the "lose weight" aspect but the "lets both be able to run around the block five times without stopping" aspect. I am not overweight, but I sure the heck need to get in fitter shape and develop more body strength. So it is not just good advice for overweight people, but for everyone. Plus, exercise releases happy chemicals in our brains that give our mood a boost.
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  #18  
May 4th, 2007, 04:21 PM
LaceyMommy2B
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i just wanted to add to this.. DEFINITELY encourage her to feel good about herself, NO MATTER HER SIZE.. you are her parent, anything you say may come off as harsh to her.. trust me.. I KNOW. my lil sis is 12, she eats a small breakfast, salad for lunch, and then SOMETIMES dinner.. she should be eating more.. BUT she is on Ritalin(sp?), she has no urge to eat.. but gains weight like she eats a cow for dinner every night. my parents told her she was just going to have to start eating healthier.. she thought they were calling her fat. the problem is when parents want the kids to start eating healthier, but dont do the same for themselves. maybe the whole family should go on a health kick...even though your son can eat 2 cheeseburgers n not gain a stitch of weight, that doesnt mean he SHOULD ya know? now, my whole family eats healthier.. my sister HAS to eat healthy.. and cant skip meals cause she feels overweight.. health is the main issue.. if she is HEALTHY but still a lil overweight.. big deal, in THAT case, just make her feel as comfortable as possible in her own skin!



now i have a 7 yr old cousin whose parents give him a BOX of cookies for his snack.. THAT is a prob.. but i know you arent doing that.. im just saying in THAT situation.. it is ALL HIS PARENTS FAULT.
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  #19  
May 5th, 2007, 01:25 AM
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I don't think it's always the parents fault. Although I do think they play a major role in helping the child maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Example: My nephew is extremely overweight. He's 5 years old and weights 140 plus pounds. He can barely walk he's so huge. I totally blame my sister-in-law for this because she feeds him junk non-stop. He's autistic and screams a lot so she gives him food to stop him. She basically doesn't want to deal with him and then complains that it's not her fault for him being so big. My brother tries to stop her from feeding him all the time and always makes him healthy but he can't stop her from feeding him junk. I say it's 100% her fault that he's so big.

But for a parent that is trying to help and encourage their kids to eat healthy and exercise regularly are not at fault for their kids obesity. It just depends.
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  #20  
May 5th, 2007, 06:18 AM
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I think in many cases it is, if there's nothing medical. But I think the key is to focus on how being overweight can affect your child's health, rather than how they look in a pair of jeans. I was a chubby pre-teen and throughout the rest of my high school years I always thought I was fat (even though I look at pics now and I'm like, "Really? I was thin then?") I remember my father calling me a "beach ball with legs" and it really hurt.

But my mom would focus on how much better I would feel if I ate more healthily, how much faster I could run when playing soccer, etc. That spoke more clearly to me, because it wasn't a visible benefit she was touting - it was how I'd feel physically. Of course, mom would then proceed to make a heavy, fatty roast with mashed potatoes and carrots drowned in butter for dinner - but that's another story.
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