When I started my business many years ago, most of my clients were hard working mothers in the age group of 29 – 45. Today, my business has changed. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of mothers bringing in their overweight children. I did not expect the numbers of overweight children that I am seeing today. Truthfully, I believed that obese children would be a very small part of my overall business but they are my second largest client group. Obese boys and obese girls do not need to be this way and in this article I will address some of the causes and look at what you can do as a family to address this epidemic of childhood obesity and save your children from a life of misery and disease.
Far too frequently, I will have a mother bring her children to me and ask me point blank "Are my kids overweight?" or "Is it my fault that I have fat children?". There is nothing like being put on the spot for an answer when your client's kids are looking up at you. Children are easily hurt and overweight children are far more fragile emotionally so addressing this issue needs to be handled carefully. It is not a question of fault but these questions show that this is a major concern for many parents.
Americans will spend billions of dollars trying to lose weight just this year. An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that Americans will spend $ 50 billion dollars annually on fitness clubs, diet centers, special foods and diet bars or shakes, or even worthless and dangerous over-the-counter fat-removal remedies. This does not even include the exercise equipment that you can buy on TV We are now starting to see a trend of family's spending money on these treatments for their overweight children.
I have found that there is a problem with the eating habits of many families. In fact, obesity in children in many cases an inherited trait. It is not uncommon to find obese children the product of overweight or obese parent or parents. It is not always a case of the child being under active, overeating or eating fast food all of the time. These are factors but each is only a small part of the childhood obesity issue.
With many factors that can lead to obesity in children, it can be often found that just putting your kids on a diet does not always work. This is especially true in overweight or obese families. I have found that success is possible when there is a change in the family lifestyle. It is time for the family to eating smarter instead of quicker. A healthy diet along with family time cantered on exercise has far greater rates of success then individual attempts.
Now, some will tell you that you need to be on a "Low-Fat" diet. I shake my head every time I hear this. Fat is NOT the enemy here. True, fat contains more calories then proteins and carbs but it is still an essential part of a healthy diet. You do not need to eliminate the fat, you need to understand what and where it is in your foods so you can keep a good balanced diet.
Before starting any program, follow these three quick steps:
- First, you should take your overweight children to visit your family doctor so you can rule out any of the rare, but possible, diseases that cause obesity in children.
- Second, pick a diet program that will help educate you and your family on your body's nutritional needs and focuses on moderate calorie reduction. This is extremely important for overweight children.
- Third, make this a family diet program. You will find that eating healthy and exercising together will promote faster weight loss and your family will develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
My business has seen an increase in families looking for help with weight loss. Even though this is a disturbing trend, there is help available to those willing to make a positive change to their lifestyle and introduce their children to healthy habits.