Are children really at risk for becoming overweight and obese? The Centers For Disease Control and Protection (CDC) have some eye opening facts. According to the CDC:
• Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
• The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
• In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
Recently, our family had a conversation about weight loss. Our 7-year old is conditioning for the Texas Rookie USA Wrestling State Tournament on Feb. 27th. At his last tournament, he weighed 57.5 pounds and competed in the 61-pound weight class. He was at a huge disadvantage and asked the question, “Mama, what do I need to do if I want to compete in the 56-pound weight class?”
So I asked him a lot of questions about why he wants to compete at that weight class and helped him think through an exercise and nutrition plan to help him achieve his goal. This conversation is not only an individual goal, it is a family affair and as a family, we will support Nico to reach his goal.
What is Nico’s purpose? Nico wants to wrestle kids who are closer to his actual weight.
What is Nico’s plan? Here are three pillars to help Nico achieve his weight loss goal.
1. Exercise More.
In addition to his after school activities, Nico and I run 1-mile before school three days/week. This early morning routine kick starts his metabolism and helps him go to school focused and prepared for the day.
2. Eating Parameters.
Nico will reduce his treats after dinner to every other night. With the exception of two evenings, he will finish eating by 7pm, have reduced portions of simple carbohydrates like pasta and potatoes and will eat well-balanced meals. Eating well-balanced meals will lead to less snacking throughout the day. Snacks will be measured out for portion control and responsible eating.
3. Reduce Sugar.
When the kids looked in the refrigerator, they noticed a new brand of yogurt and they asked, “Mama, why did you switch brands?” I explained to them that after comparing the two yogurts, this brand has 4-5 grams of less sugar. The majority of kids (and adults!) consume too much added sugar. This means sugar found in fruit juices, sodas, and processed foods, not natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables.
This plan isn’t just about a State Wrestling Tournament, it is teaching our children how to think about weight loss. If we, as parents, aren’t around to have these conversations with our children, whom will they turn to and how will they learn the right way to approach weight loss? Make exercise and nutrition a family affair and together, let's build a strong family.
Niccole Maurici, University Park mom of four and former certified personal trainer, is the co-founder and creator of the StrongestMom.com? website and fitness videos, which promote values important to moms: encouragement, support, positive thinking, and dedication. To learn more visit our website strongestmom.com.