Average Weight And Height Chart For 14 Year Old Boy Preventing Obesity in Young Children

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Preventing Obesity in Young Children

Do you have a young child whose weight or eating habits are out of control? Need real-world help ‘taming the cookie monster’? Here are some things that have worked for our family.

Our daughter, now 14, was chubby from birth and thrived happily for her first year on a combination of breast milk and formula. However, once she was completely weaned and eating only solids, she began to gain weight at an unhealthy rate. This continued for the next year until, on the advice of her pediatrician, we began to change her daughter’s eating habits. She was barely two years old, but her doctor felt strongly that we should make some changes before her weight became a lifelong problem. The goal was to prevent further weight gain until her height matched her weight without depriving her of nutrition or feeling deprived of the comforting aspects of food.

I am happy to report that our daughter is now a slim, healthy teenager with good eating habits and no ‘food issues’, but learning how to change our family’s eating behavior has been a long process of trial and error. Since she was still mostly preverbal, discussing nutrition or thinking with our toddler was not an option. We continued to try new things and over time we learned what worked for her. (These tips should prove useful for older children as well, but are NOT a substitute for professional advice: be sure to talk to your pediatrician before changing or restricting your child’s diet.)

Here are some important lessons we learned:

  • Enlist the cooperation of ALL family members and caregivers.
  • Chart your progress over time.
  • Eat what your child eats
  • Be creative in addressing your child’s individual needs.
  • Don’t starve your child!
  • Be patient and expect resistance and failure

Enlist the cooperation of ALL family members and caregivers.

The first step is to thoroughly explain your concerns and your pediatrician’s to grandparents, daycare providers, etc., noting that overweight children move more slowly, move less, and therefore develop less self-confidence, often have social difficulties in school, and often grow into adults. overweight people.

Reassure them that you will follow good dietary practices, that your child is under the supervision of a competent pediatrician, and that you will take special care to meet his psychological need for food in more appropriate ways.

Explain your goals for your child’s weight (eg zero weight gain until height is reached) and tell staff that your child should not be praised OR punished when it comes to food, just encouraged to eat slowly and move on to another activity when reasonably. – the big meal was eaten.

Record your progress over time

Once a month, weigh the child and measure his height, being careful not to express displeasure if his weight has increased. Instead, praise her by saying ‘how proud you are of her growth’. Get a copy of your child’s growth chart (weight-height) from her doctor and update it every month. This provides important feedback on whether your methods are working, and you can adjust meals, activity levels, etc. accordingly. Never scold your child for overeating or being overweight: Our daughter went through the chubbiest part of her childhood completely unaware that she was on any way ‘different’, and eventually managed to achieve a healthy weight.

Eat what your child eats

This requires commitment and discipline! You will only do much, much worse if you single out a child to eat differently than the rest of the family. The whole family should work on healthy eating habits for life, and it’s your job as a parent to make sure that happens. I know it’s HARD not to order pizza when you’re too tired to cook, but make it a treat once a month instead of a main meal.

Do the obvious things to reduce fat in your diet, including switching to skim milk, cutting out butter, cutting back on cheese and fried foods, and cutting out sweets altogether. Snack only on fresh vegetables or fruit and occasionally ice cream (without fat!). Serve water as a drink with dinner (think of milk as a food, not a drink) and allow unlimited steamed or raw vegetables (no butter, no sauce). You as parents should decide how many ‘main course’ meals your family should have. Serve heavier foods directly onto plates from the stove instead of bringing piles of food to the table, so there’s less temptation to have seconds. Make sure the portions are generous enough to satisfy true hunger, but not overly large.

If seconds are requested, ask your child to wait a few minutes to ‘let her food settle’ or until everyone else has finished, then give her a smaller second portion, and don’t give anyone a third portion unless it’s a food with a little fat. Do the same and save all the “Ben and Jerry’s” binges for after your child’s bedtime.

Be creative in addressing your child’s individual needs

Sometimes waiting a few minutes between servings worked and our daughter realized she was full before eating the whole second portion, but often she would feel irritated leaving food on the plate and would stuff herself to the point of stomachache just to finish what she had started. (This happened even though we NEVER insisted he ‘clean his plate’, which is misguided and outdated parenting policy!).

To help her ‘get rid’ of the meal, we promised to ‘save it for her’ in the fridge and then wrap it in plastic and let her watch us put it away. This really seemed to work: she had to stay ‘in charge’ of ‘her’ food, but she didn’t have to feel a loss if it went uneaten.

We did the same thing with sweets. (People love to give chubby kids candy!). We had a ‘candy jar’ on top of the fridge, where we put all the hard candy gifts she got (we threw out the chocolate after she went to sleep). After dinner, to let her know that ‘eating time’ is over, she is allowed to choose one hard candy for dessert. This solved the problem of regretting sweets between meals as well as at the end of the meal without serving a heavy dessert.

If your child has some shortcomings in relation to food (and don’t we all?), think carefully about what needs that food can fulfill and try to meet that need in a more appropriate way. Common needs are control, boredom, anxiety, anger and loneliness. Be creative and keep trying new things. The consistent message you should be sending is that her needs are important and you will help meet them without using food as a substitute. Your child should always feel that he will get enough food when he is hungry, and if you do not keep junk food in the house, he will learn to eat healthy food to feel full.

Don’t starve your child!

It seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Even the chubbiest kids get hungry and need to eat to keep their energy levels up. Regular small, low-fat snacks between meals can help with this. The worst thing you can do (in my opinion) is to make food such an issue that it becomes an unpleasant weapon of control. Your child should always feel responsible for his eating, and it’s your job to help him learn the best eating habits possible.

When a child asks for food, always offer something from the ‘off-limits’ list: steamed or raw vegetables, or the occasional fruit, unless it is clearly NOT an appropriate time for a snack (just before bedtime or a few moments before a meal is served).

Consistently try to replace your child’s need for comfort food with an activity they enjoy: say “Let’s read that new library book together first!”, and offer a snack AFTER the activity. In this way, you can gradually learn to distinguish when your child is actually hungry, and when he has some other need, such as feeling tired, bored, afraid, sad or simply wants some attention. Gradually, she too will learn to differentiate, and will slowly stop using food as her first ‘need fulfillment’ strategy.

By consistently offering only healthy foods in reasonable amounts, with ‘seconds’ of heavier foods allowed and ‘unlimited’ food available at all times, your child will maintain great control. She will be able to decide how much of the ‘unlimited’ amount of food she will eat and won’t keep hearing ‘NO’ when she asks for more. (“You’ve already had seconds on the chili, honey, but you can have more carrots if you want”).

Allowing snacks when requested eliminates the possibility of developing anxiety about NOT getting something to eat when your child actually IS hungry. By putting off snacking for a few minutes to read or play a game with your child, you’re sending the message that food will always be available, but it’s not really an urgent problem, and there may be a better way to comfort yourself in the meantime.

Be patient and expect resistance and failures

Changing family eating habits can be difficult, especially when food has been used as a source of family comfort or entertainment (and occasionally it is, even in the most ‘perfect’ families!). Expect your overweight child and other family members to resist changes in eating habits, especially older children who have been entrenched in a life of junk food for a long time. Be firm in your knowledge that you are doing your best for your family, and even if it doesn’t always go smoothly, YOU WILL KEEP TRYING. Don’t get discouraged or feel like a failure when your child gains weight or starts ‘sneaking food’. This is not a reflection of your worth as a parent, but shows how difficult this problem can be. If a family crisis or a change in routine (e.g. vacation) brings you back to bad habits, start over. This is a PROCESS and it is the best gift you can give your child.

Some useful resources

American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org)

NIDDK: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

(www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/helpchld.htm)

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