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Ester Marsh: Weight loss is family effort

Q. After your last two articles I have a question about my child for you. My child is overweight, what can I do to make her lose weight?
A. Statistics show that obesity is rampant across the nation.
I have had numerous talks with specialists at such organizations as Salisbury Pediatric Associates, Rowan Regional Medical Center, the Rowan County Health Department and others about the concern with the growing obesity issue and what we can do about it. Unfortunately, lots of parents donít worry about obesity, like they would other illnesses. Studies have shown that obesity leads to all kinds of health issues.
If this trend continues, most parents will outlive their children.
Being aware of your childís need is the first step. Now, hopefully I can give you some tips that will help.
First, donít single out your child. For example, if you have chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, while your child has a salad, would not be a good choice.
It really takes an effort to make the right choices. Donít ěsuper-sizeî your own meals and avoid ěall you can eatî specials. Itís hard to not eat yourself silly.
With children I really like to focus on activity level, as I do for adults.
First, consider diversity. Not all children are born to play team sports. Simply because they do not like soccer, baseball or football does not mean, they donít like sports.
They might love swimming, running or martial arts.
Expand their horizons.
They might love to sing, dance or act. We are so lucky to have so many awesome possibilities here in Salisbury.
With different programs your child can be active.
It takes a whole family to get and stay healthy and active.
Add Dan Nicolas Park, city parks or the North Carolina Zoo to your family events.
Expand your taste buds by trying different fruits, vegetables and snacks, but donít deprive them from the ěforbiddenî foods. Teach them moderation.
I grew up in a Dutch bakery. We had desserts every day, but we always had to eat a balanced meal before dessert.
Another thing I see a lot of is snacking before lunch or dinner. Your appetite decreases, which means, your nutritious food intake will be a whole lot less.
One thing that works in my household is to not buy things that anyone is having a hard time avoiding.
Why would you want to torture yourself and your family with forbidden foods you really canít have anyway? Something else that works for me is to eat a meal or satisfying healthy snack before you shop, and make sure you have a grocery list.
You will be amazed how different your cart will look. Take little steps at a time.
If you need help, ask your doctor, or even schedule an appointment with a licensed nutritionist or dietitian. It will be worth it.
Just remember, it needs to be a positive change in everyoneís lifestyle.
Good Luck!
Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt

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