Friday, March 20, 2009

A Fork in the Road

I have a 10 year old niece on The Husband’s side of the family who was just told by her pediatrician she really needs to get more exercise, watch what she eats and to be careful of her weight. She is by no means heavy or over weight, but over the past 6 months or so I think she’s just beginning to get a little chunky. I can see what her doctor is getting at. Over the past several years her weight and height have not gone up proportionally and if that trend continues she will become heavy, overweight, fat or whatever label you want to apply.

My niece’s grandmother was appalled at the doctor for “putting so much emphasis” on her weight, “especially at that age.” Me? I was happy the doctor said something. If you look at my niece’s mother and her grandmother, you can easily see what the trend is, and it’s big. The grandmother has been dealing with weight issues for as long as I’ve known her and is scheduled for gastric bypass surgery in April or May. The mom is big, Rubenesque , round, curvy or however you want to describe her. Their diets are horrible. I watch the family stuff so much processed, fatty, fried food in their mouths it’s hard to imagine they are getting anything nutritious at all.

The Niece is coming up on the challenging pre-teen and teen age years ahead. I worry if her family doesn’t take this seriously it is going to spiral into many other issues. I don’t think it’s too early nor do I think anyone is putting too much emphasis on her weight. I don’t want her to have to shed tears about her friends calling her fat. I don’t want her to feel any less because she’s biggest one in the room and I don’t want her weight to keep her from becoming the person I hope and know she can become.

15 comments:

Hanlie said...

I know! The last thing the poor kid needs is to go on a diet... She needs to eat healthy, wholesome food and be active along with the rest of her family, so that it's not about her weight. But it doesn't sound as if it's going to happen that way... which really is a pity!

May said...

Everyone is probably so sick of hearing this, but go get that girl the Abs Diet for Women. Its not even a diet but its sure helpful!

I hope the doctor at least did it in a nice way. My doctors used to say things in a way that made me feel he was disgusted with me and that I wasnt worth being his patient. Poor girl.

new*me said...

I like the approach my doc has with my son.......maintain his weight as he gets taller. We have also gotten a lot more exercise and I have made a lot of changes in how we eat as a family. He lost 8 lbs since this time last year.

Sagan said...

Such a touchy subject... eating healthy is different than dieting and I think sometimes people assume that doctors are implying a scary "DIET".

Dina said...

lol @ May's comment, are they paying you May? :)

I agree with you that it could be helpful for the doctor to have mentioned it. As long as it's done in a tactful way :)

Gigi said...

It's such a fine line to walk - wanting them to do the right thing versus upsetting and embarrassing them to the point they're turning to more food for comfort. I hope they find the right balance.

anna said...

i am with you! so many peoplejust don't notice that they could SAVE their children from their own mistakes. if only someone had taken the doritos, twinkies, and rootbeer out of my house and told me to go outside and play when i was a kid. i might have had a chance to make it through junior high as a normal sized teen. man, it was torture. fortunately i started to figure things out on my own around my junior year. but it has taken LOTS more years to undo those earlier habits. habits (good or bad) start when we are young!

dkaz said...

I think many little girls chub-up before their adolescent growth spurt. It would be excellent if she could adopt healthier eating & exercise habits now. Then, she'll get taller and thin out naturally without feeling deprived and having to try really hard to lose weight. It's hard to fight her family influences, though. My teenaged son and I joined a gym last year and its been the best possible thing for us - we have both lost a lot of weight and truly changed our lifestyles. Maybe you can gently move her in the right direction?

MaryFran said...

Kudos to that doctor!!! HOpefully everyone in the family (and the doctor)will treat it seriously, yet not make sure a huge deal that this child just gradually learns new healthy habits and a new lifestyle without any 'fat' talk!

Cammy said...

A friend's 7-year old son's doctor has "explained" (with a wink to Mom) to him that with his build (which is pudgy-round to the adult eye), he likely has a future in professional football and really needs to start now to build up his muscles. So now he's excitedly following the doctor's "Special Medical Muscle-building Diet" that involves only one snack a day and one fast food trip a week. The hope is that this will be an established way of eating for the kid before he learns how to spell or use Google. :) The doctor said he's not likely to lose any weight, but will just grow into the weight he is as he gets taller.

As with adults, it's all in the approach.

Carolina Girl said...

That is such a hard subject...especially for young girls! I know I went through it. I loved to eat, eat and eat (still do) and was always borderline chubby. I'm glad doctors aren't afraid to speak up though. But hopefully it was done in an encouraging and uplifting way.

Thanks for the birthday wishes!!! =)

MizFit said...

man you nailed it with the fork in the road in that this could be a time where the family looks back and VAGUELY recalls weight was an issue OR when the family looks back and remember how everything changed.

so difficult to approach/address as well.

Lynn said...

I always feel a little twidgy when people say "Oh, I don't want her to cry because her friends called her fat." Get over that idea. Right. now. Her friends WILL call her fat, even if she weights 119 pounds. Her "friends" will tell her she has too many zits. Boys will say they'd date her, if only she had nicer hair, or a better name, or more tits, or less tits.

KIDS ARE MEAN. 90% of them are rude, hateful, selfish, and highly critical, both of themselves and of their fellows. (And yes, I'm sure everyone wants to tout their kid as being wonderful, fantastic and polite, but honestly, you don't see them in packs in high school.

She'll find something to cry about, believe me. Even the really popular kids get the sharp end of the stick on a regular basis.

I guess where I'm going with this is yes, it's better to eat healthy than not. And yes, exercise is good for her. And definitely THIS is the time to start; the earlier you can help someone be healthy, the better those habits are established before they go off to college and have completely unsupervised meals. But please, don't think that ANYTHING she does now will keep people from picking on her.

they will.

Teresa said...

She's lucky to have a doctor that isn't afraid to say something. I wish mine had. Maybe I wouldn't be struggling now to lose it. I hope she takes it to heart and learns how to diet and exercise, so she can be a happy healthy adult.

Scale Junkie said...

WOW I wish I would have had someone take an interest in my health and explain things to me at that age. I think its good that the doctor said something, Mom and Grandma should take it as a cue to change their lives for her sake....at least one would hope that would happen.

At least she has YOU!