My 6 year old daughter has been overweight since age 4. She has seen her doctor & a dietitian regarding her weight, I have kept food journals, we have changed the way our family eats dinner together & the food we eat, we have significantly increased the amount of outdoor family activity. She continues to have a huge appetite and gains weight. She is also on the soccer and basketball team and takes a tumbling class -- all of which she enjoys & is not forced into. She swims about 5 times a week - I take her after work whenever she asks to go. I am at a loss as how to help her with her weight. She has been tested for medical causes.
I allow her a slice of pizza and cake at a birthday party, special occasion, etc. so she won't feel different or feel that she cannot ever have party food. Lately she has been shoving food into her mouth to get another slice, another bite, etc. Yesterday I walked into her room and she threw something in a drawer. Turnns out she had taken candy out of the garbage that her brother had thrown away (it was his that he got from a party). She was trying to hide it. I discovered a couple candy wrappers under her bed. We eat family style, per her dr's suggestion, so she can see there is always food available and she can learn how to serve herself. We don't deny her food, we just simply don't have much of the bad stuff available.
What can I do to stop her fom feeling she has to hide food while at the same exact time help her love herself & the body she has while trying to keep her weight steady so she can be a healthy girl? She is very outgoing, has a lot of friends and is a bit strong willed. She is also so happy, loves school, loves playing, etc. I don't want to take away any of that joy she has.
Her weight is above the 95th percentile and her height is just above the 90th percentile for her age. Has her thyroid levels been checked? Suggest taking the focus off of food and just increase her activities and decreasing her time in front of TV, computer, or video games. There have been studies showing the longer the length of time a child sit in front of the TV, the greater the weight gain. For her age, she should be consuming approximately 1800 calories per day (for growth) properly as recommended the following; Fruits (limit fruit juices) = 1.5 cups; Vegetables 2.5 cups; Grains (cereals, breads) = 6oz equivalents; Meat & beans = 5oz equivalents; Dairy products (milk, yogurt) = 3 cups; Oils = 5 tsp; Additional calories to be used discretionary = 195. This food needs to be divided up between 3 meals and snacks between meals daily. You stated you do not have ‘junk’ food in the home. Additional suggestions as follows: cook only low fat meats (chicken, fish, loin of pork) or non-meat sources (soy products, nuts), low fat vegetarian combinations (rice & beans, pasta & beans, low fat cheese & pasta), fat free or low fat dairy products (skim milk, 1% milk, low fat cheese, low fat yogurts, low fat soy milk/yogurt), use plant oils, non trans-fat margarines, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Eat daily high fiber breads and cereals (oatmeal). The Child behavior Forum may provide additional help. Thank you for your question.
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