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Monday, April 29, 2013

Holistic Tips for Managing Children’s Weight

Childhood weight issues are an increasing epidemic. More than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese and that number continues to rise. (1) Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years and that just accounts for those children classified as obese, and not those who are just overweight. When overweight children are factored into these statistics the percentage of kids who are just plain unhealthy is much greater.

Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. Obesity is a good indicator of something amiss in your child’s diet, specially too much sugar and fat in their diet.

Being overweight and obese in childhood increases the risk of chronic degenerative disease in adulthood as well as impacting overall mood, socialization, self-esteem confidence and the ability to full participate in life. Being overweight and obese in childhood is associated with increased risks for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma as your children

Because the habits and patterns your child develops in childhood become the foundation for the rest of their life, those who have weight issues as children are likely to continue that trend and be obese as adults. These individuals are more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

As a parent it is your job to set the standards and habits of your child. Eating fast, junk and processed foods are all learned and conditioned behaviors children learn from demonstration by their parents. Many parents assert they just can’t keep their kids healthy because of the influences at school, on television and from peers, but if this was a logical argument then as a parent you would never be able to prevent your kids from doing drugs or any other risky and life threatening behaviors. Allowing your child’s eating and lifestyle habits to run out of control are just as harmful, risky and life threatening. Be confident as the parent that you can establish and uphold healthy eating and lifestyle practices for both yourself and your family and raise children who do not have any health symptoms and don’t have to regularly visit with a medical doctor because of sicknesses. You can raise children with strong functioning immune systems, balanced emotions and a healthy body through following some easy to implement, Holistic Tips for Managing Children’s Weight….

What Are You Serving?

The Western diet is mainly to blame for obesity and childhood weight issues. Fast, processed and junk foods high in fats, sugars, salt and toxins while absent of any real nutrients, cause children to be perpetually hungry. Empty calories do not satisfy the body’s needs so the body continues to send hunger signals. Your child could eat 3,000 calories of these types of junk foods and still be hungry. Foods that have been processed in any way lose their nutrients while adding in toxic man-made chemicals. To prevent this from occurring serve only foods that are nutrient dense and absent of man-made chemicals, harmful fats, sugars and salts. These include fresh plant based foods including fruits, vegetables, healthy grains like quinoa and raw nuts and seeds.


What Are You Drinking?

Soda pop is the number one culprit for the ridiculous amount of sugar in children’s diets today. Excess sugar = excess body fat! The body can only use so much sugar at one time. When too much sugar floods the body, the liver is required to turn this excess sugar into stored fat. This is also the underlying cause of the sky rocketing rate of diabetes in children. Bottled kids juices are also horrible for little bodies. Most are not even juice, or have less than 5% real juice while the rest is compromised of sugar, flavorings and colorings. Instead opt for bottled organic herbal teas (or better yet make your own), organic lemonade (which will not have high fructose corn syrup, colorings or flavorings), homemade fresh juices (the possibilities are endless) or fun fruit waters. You can make your own fun fruit water by melding your favorite fruits (think raspberries, blueberries, limes) with filtered water! Kids absolutely love these waters and they include NO sugars or additives of any kind.

Make Your Own Meals & Snacks

Pre-packaged, pre-made foods and snacks are most usually high in sugar, fat and salt as well as man-made toxins and have absolutely little to no nutritional value. Making your own meals teaches kids the importance of nourishing your body through how and what you eat and gets them involved in the kitchen. This is a lifelong practice and habit they will repeat. If your children never see you in the kitchen or are never involved in making foods they will have no idea how to nourish themselves as they grow, other than from the corner fast food restaurant or vending machine.

Start the Day Right

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while that is debatable, the underlying premise remains…breakfast is important! Relevant to our discussion, breakfast balances blood sugar which helps to balance weight. When blood sugar is even and regulated throughout the day, food is not stored as fat and kids are not as hungry. If kids miss breakfast their blood sugar drastically dips, making them cranky, tired, emotional and HUNGRY, making them more likely to binge when they do eat. This creates a vicious cycle throughout the day. Starting breakfast with a balanced, satisfying meal, that is not processed or filled with sugar and junk, helps to prevent this cycle from occurring. 

Fast Food is Out

Fast food is one of the vilest things you can put into you and your child’s body. Fast food is the lowest quality food product on the planet, filled with a plethora of toxins and harmful ingredients and absent of ALL nutrients. You and your child would be better off taking your money and throwing it in the sewer! Taking fast food off the table as an option prevents you from relying on it when you get busy. A “no fast food” household policy ensures your children will never be exposed to such a harmful food choice. Fast food greatly contributes to obesity and being overweight. Toxins found in these foods are harmful to internal organs so the body uses fat to trap and neutralize these toxins. A higher toxic diet equals a higher body fat percentage. These foods also feed the cycle of hunger and over eating. Instead, choose 3-4 quick stand-by recipes you are comfortable making and can make on short notice. These are the recipes you will use on nights when you are out of time and need something quick. Also identify a few local restaurants that offer quick, FRESH, whole foods which can also be used as your stand-by when you are on the run and out of options!

Do Not Use Foods as a Reward

Parents get into a bad habit of offering or bribing kids with sweets or junk foods for “good behavior.” This instills a lifelong habit of reaching for junky foods when under stress or feeling down. It also conveys to children that junk foods are the “best” foods because they can only be eaten when “good.” This is a horrible habit pattern to get in to. Instead offer non-food based rewards, a favorite outing, a long desired new toy or something of real value and importance.

Get Moving 

It is constantly amazing to see kids sitting inside in front of video games or watching TV instead of outside riding books and playing like kids! In less than one generation we have created a generation of almost completely sedentary children. TV and video games should be severally limited and played or watched in only very small and infrequent time limits. If it is nice outside, no one should be inside sitting in front of a TV. Exercise is vital to overall health and well being. Sedentary habits, though, again come from demonstration by the family. Do you sit around and watch TV to escape or to “chill out”? Do you eat meals and spend your weekend’s vegging out in front of the TV? Make it a family priority to Get Moving! Family walks, bike rides, hiking, trips to the lake, roller blading and outdoor sports all help children to stay active and engaged in exercise throughout their lifetime while naturally balancing weight. Check out the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign for tips on getting your family moving! http://www.letsmove.gov/ 

Candice Marley is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Holistic Nutritionist, Herbalist, Wellness Coach and owner of Align Holistic Health & Well Being who specializes in natural, holistic health care for families and children. She uses a combination of natural ways of eating, balanced lifestyle practices, medicinal herbs, holistic living strategies and wellness coaching to excel at creating vibrant, lasting health. Most people report feeling higher levels of energy and greater health within a week of their first appointment. You can download her free e-book The 5 Key Strategies for Creating Vibrant Health at www.alignholistichealth.com.


Centers for Disease Control. Childhood Obesity Facts. Retrieved from:

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm on April 29, 2013

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