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WHEE (Weight, Health, Eating & Exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining, or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness. Any supportive comments, suggestions, or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are working on your weight or fitness, please -- join us! You can also click the WHEE tag to view all diary posts.

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(N.B. While I am a pediatrician, and have lectured on child health and fitness issues for many years, I am still learning from my audiences ways in which to discuss weight and fitness issues with children and parents. Please feel free and encouraged to offer constructive comments as to how I might improve the following discussion.)

Today in this country one out of every five meals eaten by children is a fast food meal. Combine this with the knowledge that American children spend an average of almost five hours each day in front of some sort of screen, and it should come as no surprise that the percentage of overweight and obese children has tripled in just the past twenty-five years.

Roughly one-third of American children are now overweight or obese. Minority children, and children from poor households, are even more likely to tip the scales. Today’s generation of children is facing the likelihood of being the first in modern history to live shorter life spans than their parent’s. This is nothing less than a national tragedy in slow motion.

Once rare in children, one-fourth of new cases of type 2 diabetes are now diagnosed under age 21. Of children born in 2000, one in three are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime; nearly one in two if a person of color. What are we doing to our children?

We should be concerned about childhood obesity not simply out of a worry for their self-image in a thin-obsessed society. Being overweight or obese as a child increases the child’s lifetime risk of:

• High Blood Pressure
• Type 2 Diabetes
• Certain Cancers (such as Colon)
• Elevated Cholesterol
• Coronary Artery Disease
• Heart Attacks and Strokes
• Asthma and Asthma Attacks
• Liver and Gallbladder Disease
• Kidney Disease
• Early-onset Puberty
• Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
• Sleep Apnea Syndrome
• Bone Disease
• Iron, Vitamin, & Mineral Deficiencies
• Depression and Anxiety
• Bullying, Teasing, & Social Exclusion
• Cigarette Addiction
• Illicit Substance Abuse


• Adult Obesity

What causes overweight? The simplest explanation is this: energy intake exceeds energy spent. Overweight and obesity is rarely due to a medical cause. Genetics play a role – between 30 to 70 percent according to researchers – as does environment. As one obesity researcher famously once said, "genes load the gun, and environment pulls the trigger."

Early-life factors known to increase the risk of overweight and obesity include:

• Parental Obesity (75 percent risk of child obesity if both parents obese)
• Large for Gestational Age birth weight
• Prematurity
• Maternal smoking during pregnancy (especially in the first trimester)
• Maternal diabetes during pregnancy
• Formula feeding in place of breast feeding during infancy

Obviously, you can’t change your child’s genes. If there is a family history of overweight or obesity, despite your best efforts your child may still become overweight or obese. But people who are overweight or obese are seldom that way solely because of their genes...cultural factors (diet and lifestyle) play some or most of the role.

Cultural factors known to increase the risk of overweight and obesity include:

• Single child
• Children of older or single parents
• Food preparation by children
• Eating alone
• Eating in front of the television
• Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
• Being made to eat when full
• The enormous food variety in stores (double from just 20 years ago)
*Cost per calorie. The least expensive calories are junk food calories, a fact that contributes to the disproportionate rates of obesity among our nation's poorest households.
• Portion size inflation in home & restaurant meals
• More processed foods (higher in calories and carbohydrates, lower in fiber & nutrients)
• Half of U.S. meals now made outside the home (fast food, sit-down restaurant, take-out)
• Too few omega-3 fatty acids in the American diet
• The sale of unhealthy foods and beverages in American schools
• The excessive consumption of soda ("liquid candy") and fruit juice & fruit drinks
• Less physical education in modern schools, especially at the elementary school level
• Our societal over-reliance on automobiles
• Poorly-planned urban sprawl with lack of safe, accessible places for children to play
• Greater parental fears of children’s safety, limiting walking, biking, etc.
• Sleep deprivation

And the number one cultural factor increasing the risk of overweight and obesity?:

Screen time. The average child now spends more time indoors, stationary, in front of some type of screen, than any other activity besides sleeping. Modern parents are not so much letting their children watch television as asking television to watch their children. Children who spend an average of four hours or more in front of a screen each day have a 30 percent risk for obesity. Children spending less than one hour per day have only a seven percent risk for obesity.

Good health is a family affair. While a child’s health is certainly influenced by others besides their parents, no matter the setting the responsibility for assuring healthy eating belongs to the parent.

Yet today’s parents must face off every day with an unhealthy environment that grabs children and won’t let go. The child’s natural environment is littered with junk food and junk food advertising: at school, at the supermarket, at the movies and the mall, on television, and sometimes at their friends’ houses, at childcare, or at their grandparents’. It’s difficult for even the best parent to compete with this.

Therefore home must be a safe haven for healthy eating practices. Parents need to get the bad food out, and let the good food in! Here are some ways how:

Read It Before Eating It! Learn how to read nutrition labels. Look at serving sizes, calories, and saturated fat content. Consider taking a nutrition class.

Get The Junk Food Out! Cookies, donuts, potato chips, candy, ice cream...if they’re not available, kids are less likely to ask for them. Dessert should be no more than once weekly...make it a scheduled event, such as Saturday Treat Night, so that the kids learn not to ask on other days.

Eat Real Vegetables! Potatoes don’t count. Corn and peas barely count. Make certain a non-potato vegetable is present at every lunch and dinner.

5 Fruits or Vegetables A Day! Fruits and vegetables are okay anytime for snacking. Keep a drawer full in the fridge. Whole fruits & vegetables are high in nutrients and low in calories

Get The Soda Pop Out! We drink it like water, but it’s not. Sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks are no more than liquid candy. These nutrient-empty drinks give children unnecessary sugar, caffeine, and calories while increasing the risk of being overweight, of tooth decay, and of weaker bones. A rare treat of a soda when out to eat at a restaurant is okay...but no more.

Get The Juice Drinks Out! Pre-packaged juice drinks are also high in calories and nearly empty of nutrients. If you’re buying them for packed lunches, be sure to buy the lowest calorie varieties.

Fruit Juices Do Not Equal Real Fruit! Juices such as 100 percent apple juice or grape juice are virtually empty in nutrients, and higher in calories than soda. Buy only 100 percent grapefruit juice or orange juice, and limit your child to 6 ounces per day, such as with breakfast.

Eat At Predictable Times! Children thrive on routine. Children eat more when unsure when the next meal or snack time is.

Watch The Snacking! Children under age 5 need two healthy snacks per day. Children over five should only have a healthy after-school snack. Keep busy...boredom equals hunger.

Eat At The Table, Not In Front Of The TV! Families that eat together have lower rates of obesity and drug use in the children and teens. Eating alone equals eating more. And when we roam with food, or eat in front of the television, we eat worse foods and more of them.

No More Clean Plate Rangers! Do not make your children eat when they are not hungry. This only teaches them not to listen to their bodies, a great way to increase their risk of obesity.

No Making Separate Meals! The parent’s job is to prepare a healthy, balanced meal. It is the child’s job to decide whether or not to eat it. If they turn up their noses, excuse them from the table. But if they’re hungry later, reheat their dinner and offer it again. Never make a separate meal! However, the child should always be allowed to substitute fruits and vegetables.

Eat A Healthy Breakfast! Children who eat a healthy breakfast (such as Cheerios in 1% milk with a piece of fruit) have lower risks of overweight and obesity and less impulsive snacking.

Reduce Omega-6-Fats! These are essential fatty acids, but we eat too much of them. They are found in corn, soybean, and sunflower oils...all commonly found in pre-processed meals and snack foods. These oils attach to receptors in the brain to cause lethargy and the "munchies"! When oil is needed, use monounsaturated oils, such as olive and canola oil, and the specially-made "high oleic acid" versions of saffron oil, sunflower seed oil or peanut oil.

Increase Omega-3-Fats! These fats are proven to be good for the brain and heart, and to protect against obesity when eating an otherwise healthy diet. In fact, they make it easier for the body to access energy from body fat! The best sources of these fats are Alaskan or Pacific salmon (caution: Atlantic salmon is high in toxins), and wild or farmed trout. Avoid deep-frying the fish. Grass-fed beef is also a good source of omega-3-fats. Taking a daily supplement of 400mg EPA with 200mg DHA every day can be beneficial if your child dislikes seafood.

Parents also need to facilitate lifestyle smartness at home:

Get Outside & Get Some Sun! Kids eat less when they’re busy, and they burn more calories. Fifteen minutes of sunlight a week allows for good production of Vitamin D, which, besides helping to make strong bones, also reduces Seasonal Affective Disorder and improves mood. And when we feel better, we eat less.

Exercise regularly! Exercise benefits not only the body, but the brain as well. Besides reducing weight gain, exercise improves the ability to sit still and focus, and reduces the risk of depression and anxiety. Your child needs at least 30 minutes of aerobic (increasing the heart rate) activity at least 3 times a week.

Get Enough Sleep! Children need more sleep than do adults. The average American child gets 1-2 hours less sleep per night than they need. More sleep is associated with less weight gain, by helping to achieve hormone balance that promotes burning rather than storing energy when awake. More sleep helps at school, too!

Limit Screen Time!  There is a clear correlation between screen time and overweight and obesity. Limit your child’s screen time to no more than an average of two hours per day. Purchase a kitchen timer to help keep track of the time.

A future WHEE Series Diary from this author will continue the discussion on the ways in which our schools and communities can be recruited for the battle to prevent childhood obesity.

Until then, this parting thought:

The most important thing is not how much you weigh. It is to be heart healthy. Aerobically active people who are overweight (but not obese) have fewer health problems, and live longer, than sedentary thin people. The goal is not to be thin, but to be healthy.

Originally posted to StrangeAnimals on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 04:58 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Obese parents tend to have obese kids (14+ / 0-)

    Bad nutritional and exercise habits are learned from generation to generation.  One way I work on my overweight and diabetic patients to eat better is to appeal to their sense of parental (or grandparental) responsibility.  

    If you won't read the South Beach book for yourself, will you at least read it to show your kids how to eat right?

    Glycemic index scores are a vital part of healthy adult nutrition; with the epidemic of obese kids I'd have to suspect these things are important for children to know too.  Cutting fats and eliminating processed foods are simple but indispensable parts of healthier eating.

    Then, too, some modern equivalent of the timeless advice "Go outside and play!" must be found for every kid.  It's amazing to watch kids today sitting around with sedentary pursuits, when I remember the bike riding and neighborhood games we used to while away our afternoons with.  I'm not so sure society today is that much more dangerous than it was 40 years ago when I was a kid, but I know parents are a lot more scared.  Safe accessible outside play spaces are another critical ingredient for healthy kids.

    "I would say to you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!" Bzzzt! Sorry Barry, thanks for playing.

    by Dallasdoc on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:05:35 PM PDT

    •  I spent my childhood playing baseball and (12+ / 0-)

      basketball (even though I'm short).  I didn't even think about it - that's just what we did.  I went by the park I used to play baseball in the other day: it was empty.  It was never empty when I was a kid.  It's a shame.

      (-9.25, -6.62) Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both -- Benjamin Franklin

      by trs on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:16:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OK, now I can ask a real doctor (8+ / 0-)

      and since your quit smoking diary helped me so much, I trust the answer.  Is the glycemic index for real and is there a way to access it without paying for an expensive diet plan?

      Rocket science is easy. Keeping house is hard.

      by Im a frayed knot on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:40:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not a panacea (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Albatross, Im a frayed knot

        But it's a very useful guide to eating in a way that's healthier and helps promote a better weight.

        Lots of books describe low glycemic index diets.  The one I tend to recommend is The South Beach Diet because it's easy to read, very informative, and written in plain English.  Read it as a nutrition course rather than a diet book, though (skip all the Phase I and Phase II stuff) and you'll have a great grounding in healthier eating.

        "I would say to you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!" Bzzzt! Sorry Barry, thanks for playing.

        by Dallasdoc on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:59:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I tend to look at both .... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, StrangeAnimals

             GI (index) and GL (load). Although I do not now have an issue with blood sugars and insulin at this point (age 60), I still tend to learn as I can in order to continue to shed some excess pounds from abuse to my body over a 10 year period while working two jobs and getting less than 4 hours sleep every night.

            There is a good description of the two at
            StrangeAnimals, absolutely one of the best diaries on childhood obesity in quite some time. I noted that you plan to delve into the nuts and bolts of how to develop action plans for parents at some future diary. Looking forward to it. As a former teacher and principal for 11 years back in the 1970's, I think we need to be spending some of our tax dollars in the schools educating our kids on nutrition. North Carolina along with most of the other Southern states have an epidemic and have no plans to confront it. I hope most have seen the lastest released study by  the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It needs to be required reading for all parents.

  •  Thanks for the great diary (8+ / 0-)

    We took a major step in limiting screen time last year when we ditched cable. Buh-bye! And it has helped, the kids are definitely better off weightwise then they were a year ago. And I really don't miss TV, anything I really want to see I still get on the intertubz and there isn't too much of that these days.

    "You'll find me at the intersection of geekish and nerdy"

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:07:37 PM PDT

  •  Great diary (12+ / 0-)

    I'm losing weight now, motivated by a heart attack one month ago. I  didn't think I was THAT overweight  (60 years old, 5'7", then 175) because I work out and play  golf at least  3 times a week apiece and walk  a mile per day additionally. I do not drink or smoke and have not for  decades.
    Since the  heart attack I have adopted a "Heart Healthy"  low cholesterol diet whole-you should pardon the  pun--heartedly and have lost 7 pounds without changing the exercise. I'm amazed how easy this  was---this food  is great, very  tasty if cooked right. My goal is to be in the 150s, now only 8 pounds away
    Sometimes it takes a 2X4 across the  eyes to wake you up.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:15:12 PM PDT

  •  So....what if we have the opposite problem? (10+ / 0-)

    I have an 18 y.o. who is leaving for college in 6 weeks.  He's so afraid of the "Freshman 15" that about two months ago he started running 3-4 miles every night, cut out all junk food....and reduced his calorie intake.  He's dropped 20 lbs, so he's now an over-slim 136 at 5'10".

    He insists that he only needs 2000 calories a day, I'm telling him he needs more like 3000 to maintain with his activity level.  But, I'm mom, he's 18, and knows everything.

    We did have a physical last week, the doc was concerned about the weight loss, to the point of ordering blood tests to rule out thyroid or other issues, but recognizes it's probably the working out and eating less.  My son heard "you have energy and are eating, so you're ok", I heard "he's dropped alot of weight".

    We have an appointment on Wed. to follow up on the tests, I'm hoping the doc backs me up on calorie intake.  Any suggestions, or do I have to let him figure it out for himself?  This isn't anorexia, he does eat, but because he's eating healthier, he's just not eating as much.

    •  Are you going to be in the room with your son and (8+ / 0-)

      the doctor?  If so, ask questions.  Lay out our concerns, but carefully so your son won't think the doctor's being manipulated by you.  I was overly slim when I was that age, but it was genetic.  I wasn't trying to lose.

      (-9.25, -6.62) Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both -- Benjamin Franklin

      by trs on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:20:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm glad that he has a follow-up appointment. (8+ / 0-)

      His doctor needs to counsel him to consume more calories. Even a modest increase to 2200-2500 calories each day would be wonderful (and a more attainable goal for him, it seems...I wouldn't want somebody to tell me to consume 50% more than I already do!).

      Yes, 135lbs seems awfully slim for someone who is 5'10"...I'm 5'11" and 155 lbs (and, too, a runner) and I'm often told how thin I am (imagine the trouble I have finding dress pants with a 30-inch waist!). It seems his doctor is taking the right approach in ruling out a medical diagnosis first.

      Now are the days we've been working for.

      by StrangeAnimals on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:23:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Aw, mom, you worry too much (7+ / 0-)

      I was (admittedly female, but still) 5'10, weighed 118.  I swam distance and danced ballet.  It was true that if I got a run in my nylons I would fall out, and I had to hold a broom in the shower to not go down the drain, but I was healthy to a fault.  When I got into my 30s and had my second baby, I started to gain.  (in fact, more than I wish I gained).  Some people are just thin, and eating well and exercising can be nothing but good.  I also worried about my skinny boys, but one grew out of it and the other is in the process.

      Rocket science is easy. Keeping house is hard.

      by Im a frayed knot on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:30:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I had a similar problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Albatross, StrangeAnimals

      I was always thin, but in going through a divorce, I completely lost my appetite, and dropped like a rock to 90lbs.  I am 5'5".  I sed to have to wear woolen tights under my size 2 jeans to make them fit.  It was awful.

      Luckily my family got me to a good internist who saw I wasn't bullimic or anorexic, just going through a hard time.  He told me that although underweight people tend to get a lot less sympathy (How I wish I had your problem, is what people say), it is actually much more dangerous than being overweight, because your body has absolutely no reserves.

      He put me on a 2000 calorie a day diet, which I thought was impossible to attain.  But still that was for a female computer programmer who didn't do any strenuous activity.  Unlike your son.

      I gradually gained weight, and then my thyroid packed up, and as much as I hate to say it, that really helped.  I am a bit plump now heading into my 50s, but I am actually glad about it.

  •  Nice diary and a very important topic. (12+ / 0-)

    Gym classes are being sacrificed across the country to save money and satisfy federal mandates stressing test scores in math and reading.

    I used to hate gym class. I was always awkward and not very good at sports, but it is so important for kids to get up and move instead of sitting behind a desk all day (as it is for adults). This makes it even more important that parents promote an active lifestyle and join their kids in getting active.

    I used to wonder why somebody didn't do something, then I realized I am somebody.- unknown

    by Brimi on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:18:53 PM PDT

  •  Important diary (11+ / 0-)

    I am personally childless, but as an elementary teacher am really shocked every year by the number of obese and physically inactive kids. I really struggle with my weight as an adult, but I am physically active and healthy as a 35 year old in a way that almost none of my students are. I had a kids aerobics tape that we did last year when there was indoor recess. Honestly, there were only 3-4 kids who could do it with me without getting winded. There were two girls who were as flexible or more than I am. I hurt for them because even the kids who are athletic are not in good shape and they are facing health issues of epic proportions if we can't help them get it under control.

    Unfortunately, there is little in the way of moving schools towards healthy lunches, and though physical education is smarter and better than when we were kids, it's being cut like crazy.

    Do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the world's grief...You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

    by Albatross on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:20:36 PM PDT

    •  When my son was in 8th grade (10+ / 0-)

      I chaperoned a field trip to the zoo. I didn't drive until I was in my 30s, so we walked A LOT before that. And since we only had one car, we still tended to walk a lot.

      The kids with us were totally out of shape. I was walking SLOW and they were complaining. "I'm tired, my knee hurts, my feet hurt..." and they were FOURTEEN.

      My son, my nerdy son who didn't do any sports, had no problem keeping up with me. The other kids, most of whom did sports, couldn't walk around the damn zoo without being winded.

      And that was over 20 yrs ago. I can't imagine it's any better now.

      •  yeah, it's really sad (10+ / 0-)

        I had a girl tell me this year that she thought she might have asthma--she had just walked up one short flight of stairs, but she was probably 50 pounds overweight. I didn't know what to say to her except to keep practicing those stairs and it would get easier.

        I had a neighbor from across the street come visit earlier this summer. She brought her 18 month old little girl, still in diapers, swilling a ginormous bottle of Pepsi. Sigh...I don't know how help people make changes. All I can do, I guess, is start by making my own changes.

        Do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the world's grief...You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

        by Albatross on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:02:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  not a parent, but (10+ / 0-)

    as one who was told constantly (and I really mean constantly - I remember being teased about how fat I was as young as 3rd grade), I feel a need to say be extremely careful how you talk to kids about this. Talk positively about healthy eating & exercise, lay off the kids themselves. For much of my life, I "knew" I was was a whale just as surely as I knew that gravity works. Looking at pictures of myself, I was not any different from the others in the picture. Now I really am 100 pounds over weight. I'm not blaming anyone, I know the intentions were good. But part of my psychological makeup was this knowledge that I am elephant-sized, and that knowledge sure as heck didn't help. So please, if there is a kid in your life, don't tell them they're fat, invite them to go do something active & fun.

  •  Grrrrr (11+ / 0-)

    PCOS is not caused by obesity. Rather PCOS can directly cause obesity through the overproduction of insulin and estrogen, and can contribute to obesity-related diseases like diabetes. Genetics are likely the primary cause of PCOS.

    I have PCOS. I was dx'd with it at 13 and I never was overweight, let alone obese, as a child. The first time I was overweight was when I was 21, after I had an abortion and my hormones went haywire, gaining over 40 pounds in nine weeks. PCOS runs in my mother's family, with nearly all my female relatives on that side of the family, either thin or overweight, suffering from it to some degree.

    Sorry but this bit of gross misinformation (even the mere insinuation) pisses me off, because it makes women with PCOS seem like they did this to themselves. In addition with weight gain that is often very difficult to lose, PCOS symptoms often include other things that can cause painful social stigma, like acne, greasy skin, body odor, increased body hair, premature gray hair, male-like balding, difficult menstruation and infertility. Women with PCOS deal with enough problems due to this disorder, physically, emotionally and socially--they don't need to be blamed for it.

    It also doesn't help creating better awareness of PCOS for children. God knows I went through hell when I first started having symptoms due to doctors' ignorance about it, resulting in me ending up in the hospital from a broken cyst. The doctors I had seen thought I was making up my symptoms, in part because I was a skinny kid and therefore, to their mind, I couldn't have PCOS

    -8.50, -7.64 "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer." - Camus

    by croyal on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:21:25 PM PDT

    •  is this like having ovarian cysts? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I had those in my teens and early 20's, sometimes extremely painful, and got it diagnosed, but there was no real "treatment" for it because the doctor said they would go away.  I was also underweight and highly active until my teens when I went from underweight to overweight in the course of a summer.  Acne - check.  Greasy hair - check. Strange body odor - check.  Infrequent and late-onset menstruation - check.  Uh oh.  And I have a sister who started going bald at 25.  Seems like there's something I need to look up!

      DailyKos: the "Free Ice Cream for Everybody" crowd!

      by louisev on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 02:19:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My childhood was spent riding bikes, (10+ / 0-)

    being a horse and galloping around the neighborhood, being a spy and following suspicious people, being an explorer and wandering the fields and woods outside of town, being a voracious reader, and making up dances.   Also spent time making armies from checkers and playing solitaire....ah it all comes back.  I also would follow dogs to see what they did and where they lived. (that was when dogs ran free).  Also recall watching ants quite a bit.  (black carpenter? ants...they had grave yards.

  •  Made the mistake of watching Biggest Loser. (7+ / 0-)


    I can't believe that losing that much weight week after week could possibly be healthy and sustainable. What happens after these people go home?

    "He not busy being born is busy dying" -- Bob Dylan

    by Kascade Kat on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 05:28:55 PM PDT

  •  shoulder update (11+ / 0-)

    So the pain is still pretty bad, bad enough that I actually went so far as to call the doctor. Have heated gel pack on it this evening, took ibuprophen, will take muscle relaxers at bed time (thank FSM I had some left over), breathing deep and doing little meditations. Very annoying when I didn't even do anything.

  •  One more risk factor (8+ / 0-)

    One of the strongest predictors for childhood and adult metabo is small for gestational age at birth followed by rapid catch-up growth.  (For the uninitiated, "metabo" is what the Japanese term obese people.  I think it is an excellent descriptive word, and in america has not yet picked up the pejorative impact of "obese.")

    I know about this risk factor--I was 5 lbs exactly at birth and by the age of one looked like the Michelin man--really.  And my mom-she was just following the doctor's orders to feed me anytime I wanted.  And I became a fat kid and a very well rounded adult.

    But I think the yoyo weight cycling I did for years had the most detrimental effect on my health.  So my goal for now is weight maintenance--even though it is more weight than other people like to look at.  And for the past 2 years I've actually stayed within eight pounds of the same weight.  Much better than "losing" but ending up 20-30 pounds heavier a year ot two later.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:17:53 PM PDT

    •  Oh, crimany (6+ / 0-)

      Who cares what people "like to look at?"  I am so tired of people thinking all bodies should look alike and that alike being the look of starvation.  I bet you look terrific.  Congratulations to you for staying within 8 lbs of the same weight - that is probably the right weight for you and if you feel good and are healthy so much the better!

      Rocket science is easy. Keeping house is hard.

      by Im a frayed knot on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:20:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't agree with that theory. When I was born, (6+ / 0-)

      I was under two pounds.  I have never been overweight (just the opposite, always underweight until I hit my mid 30's).  Admittedly I didn't have the rapid catch-up growth, but I know kids that were in that cycle and didn't end up overweight.  Much of it depends on how the parents teach the children to eat, and some of it is dependant on genetics.

      (-9.25, -6.62) Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both -- Benjamin Franklin

      by trs on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:25:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The key is probably (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Albatross, Brimi

        weight at birth not appropriate for gestational age.  I.e., a full-term baby who is not nourished enough in the womb.

        Weirdly, short legs seem to play into the risk factors also.

        Parents can take note of these things and be vigilant.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 06:47:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  From a somewhat tumultuous diary today (4+ / 0-)

    comes this little gem from cosmic debris:

    I heard on NPR today in an interview with Salazar of the Dept of the Interior that many kids today spend only 4 minutes a day out of doors. Talk about insulated!

    Children are not mushrooms. They need light and fresh air to grow properly. We've become so desk bound and tethered to our various electronic devices is it any wonder we're turning into lumps of goo?

    FOUR FREAKING MINUTES! Are you kidding me? In 4 minutes you can easily jog half a mile. In 4 minutes to can do 40 jumping jacks and not break a sweat. In 4 minutes you can walk outside and look up at the clouds.

    Health care reform? We need basic human care reform!

    "You'll find me at the intersection of geekish and nerdy"

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 07:26:29 PM PDT

  •  great diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Albatross, StrangeAnimals

    thanks StrangeAnimals!

    DailyKos: the "Free Ice Cream for Everybody" crowd!

    by louisev on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 07:39:52 PM PDT

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