From Chuck, Child's Age 14 - 02/04/02 - IP#:  Click here to reply  
I need some help. I have two sons and both of them are overweight. My 14 year old is 5'7" and 180 lbs. He can't even wear my pants. Shirts are okay, but my my 33 are too small for him. He barely fits into 34 comfortably. My 9 year old is 4'7" and 125 lbs. He has an especially large gut. At least he can wear my pants. That's not a good thing, though, except for the fact that I don't have to buy him pants. I had a weight problem when I was abou 12, but when I got into junior high I played football and began to slim down. I have stayed that way ever since. Neither one of them are interested in sports. I have thought about taking them to the gym to work out, but I was told that they are too young. They don't like low fat food because it doesn't taste as good as the real kind. Any help I could get would be greatly appreciated. I don't want them to be obese as adults.
Reply from Sue, Child's Age 12 - 02/08/02  - IP#:
Can I first say that lots of kids have a big gut but it often slims down slowly as they get taller.
You are obviously aware that the kids need to eat lower fat food and exercise more. If they insist on still wanting to eat higher fat food then they are just going to have to eat less of it. In our case my daughter couldn't tell the difference and we now buy lower fat food as a matter of course. We often buy low fat pizza and I certainly can't tell the difference and it seems to disappear off the plate just as quickly as the higher fat ones. If you introduced some low fat food into their diet they would probably get used to it. If you were big at 12 then maybe genetics has a large part to play here but you had the advantage of liking sports. A difficult one this. Regarding the gym, they are probably too young to do a lot of the adult exercises probably because they are still growing but I find it hard to believe that there aren't any exercises at all that they can do. Maybe try a different gym or speak to some exercise coaches to get their advice, or maybe even their school's P.E. coach. I sympathise with them about not liking sports. I HATED sport at school and you don't want to make them miserable by making them do anything they don't enjoy. My daughter too hated sport but then when she lost the weight she became a bit better at it and began to find it fun. Maybe that would happen in your case. I wish I could be more constructive but this is a tough one. If you want them to lose weight and get fit then you have to apply what we in England call 'tough love', be cruel to be kind. You are thinking of what is best for them in the long term and at this point in their lives you do have some control over this. If they become unhealthy obese adults then you would probably blame yourself for not acting sooner. So I would advise you to start introducing lower fat food into their diet gradually or reducing their portions. Find out about exercises that are safe for children to do and try and get them to buy into this idea of healthier eating. Good luck.