Fat Kids; "Thus Do I Pine and Surfeit Day by Day, or Gluttoning on All, or All Away." - William Shakespeare (15641616), English Poet and Dramatist Sonnet 75

Article excerpt

Byline: DR. BRIX PUJALTE

A THIN line exists between cute and chubby, and fat and dangerously unhealthy.

Add to this is the fact that, when it comes to our children, we'd rather think they're just cute and chubby. Never mind, we say, that fat Missy is heaving and sighing like an old walrus after using the stairs. Heaving and sighing! Now isn't that cute too?

It's not, of course.

It could be a warning sign that the child is too heavy for her age and that she is being set up for a life of illness, injury, and misery.

Why is missy fat? The quick answer is: Papa is, or Mama is. Genetic factors might be easy to blame particularly if the parents are obese themselves. But more commonly, obesity in children is caused by very bad habits like watching too much TV, lack of physical activity, and eating the wrong foods. It has been estimated that children sit in front of the TV for an average of 24 hours a week. If PE wasn't a subject in school, many children would rather be playing computer and video games. A steady diet of hamburger or hotdog and soft drinks might be any parent's "value meal" but its true long-term nutritional value is suspect.

What is overweight? While adult obesity is 30 percent more than ideal body weight, defining its childhood equivalent may be tricky. Weight measurements have to be reconciled with the child's growth. That is why determining a right weight for the child is a matter of making the time to visit a pediatrician and a nutritionist/dietitian. There are standard height and weight charts, as well as growth pattern graphs to consult. The doctor may also investigate hidden causes of weight gain such as hormonal problems. We've all been guilty of using food as a reward or a distraction to our children. The trouble is that food has become an emotional issue for most families. It is best to see a clinician who can give a detached assessment of a child's weight problem.

Setting -up missy. Consider these:

* Early heart problems

* Diabetes

* High cholesterol

* Hypertension

* Skin conditions like acne and fungal infections.

These are just some of the needless consequences of letting a child raid the refrigerator without permission or guidance. …