Tuesday, January 1, 2013


EVERYWHERE I GO, I talk with parents and grandparents faced with the harsh reality and knowledge that, somehow, their child or grandchild is not at a healthy weight.  Sometimes the reality rears its head when your child suddenly refuses to go to school one day.  Or when the school principal calls to say your daughter is in their office crying because someone called her fat. 

What I say to you as a parent is the same thing I say to adults who are told by their doctors that if they do not lose some weight, they will develop diabetes.  If they already have diabetes, without losing some weight, they likely will encounter the reality of its ugly complications such as loss of circulation in the feet, amputation of toes or a foot, a heart attack, loss of vision, and more.  We know how to  prevent diabetes.  We can learn how to prevent more weight gain and then make a plan to get to a healthier weight.

You may ask yourself, “Where did all this fat come from?”  or “How did my daughter (or son) gain all this extra weight?”  The answer is simple:   by eating and drinking more food, drink, and calories than they (and we) need and use.  Extra weight does not suddenly appear overnight.  We don’t go to bed 180 pounds one night and suddenly wake up the next morning weighing 215 pounds.  It’s the same way with kids as it is with us adults.  They don’t go to sleep one night weighing 55 pounds and wake up the next morning weighing 80 pounds.  

People_eating_food : Woman eating french fries. Isolated.
Woman eating fast food french fries.
We all gain extra weight the same way - one pound at a time.  Five pounds here, three pounds here, another two pounds here – it adds up over time.  Every time you take the kids to McDonalds, it adds up faster.  Check this out:  a double quarter pounder with cheese, a large coke, and a large fries has 1,560 calories (almost a whole day’s worth of calories), 1280 mg of sodium (more than half of what we should eat in a day), and a whopping 86 grams of carbs (the sugar in the coke contains  “empty” calories with no nutritional value).  Go to www.mcdonalds.com to learn the nutritional value of what your kids eat there. 

Children having fun running.
“So, now what do I do to help my children?”  You start one day and one week at a time to make changes.  The universal law is that small changes lead to big results.  

Right now, starting today, the first day of 2013, you can make the decision to make small changes.  This week you start moving.  Take a walk.  Don’t assume that your kids are getting enough exercise in school, because they are not, especially if they live in Florida.  The education leaders in Florida should be ashamed of themselves for stripping physical education out of our schools and our children’s health and daily lives (personal opinion).   In the county where I live, kids in elementary school get 30 minutes a day of P.E.  Remember that kids needs 60 minutes a day of P.E.  So start moving.  Be the example they need.  Take a walk every day with your child while they are on winter break.  Play basketball with them.  Jump a rope.  Don’t allow them to sit inside all day.  Get outside and play.  Just for the heck of it.  For the health of it.  Now. 

It takes responsibility to develop new habits.  As parents, we are responsible for our children’s health, for what they eat, for making sure they get exercise every day, for getting their homework assignments done and turned in, and their science fair project deadlines met.  Take responsibility for their health.  Stay tuned to this blog for weekly lessons in 2013 you can use at home (and at work) to improve your children’s health – and your own.  Together, we can lose the extra weight.  To access a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator for you and your children, go to www.cdc.gov.

Thanks for taking responsibility. 

Perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich

To order a copy of my new book for parents, NOURISH AND FLOURISH, go to amazon.com now.