Wednesday, July 10, 2013



"We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu.  We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity.  And we can help create a culture – imagine this – where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them."
                              --Michelle Obama, First Lady

Jason told me that he is having problems with his eyes and his feet.  I asked him, “When was the last time you were screened for diabetes?” and he replied that it was more than 7 years ago.  Then he talked about his kids.  He said his son was “almost as big as I am.”  Then, his voice dropped and he added that his 15 year old daughter is also almost as big as he is.  He asked me how to help them.  I said, “Lead by example and help yourself first.  Act as if you are at a healthy weight yourself.  Let them know that you are changing what you eat and are going to eat 2 more cups of in season and locally grown vegetables this week.  Start changing one thing each week to get on the path to better health and a healthier life.” 

Can you guess what this is?

How do parents help their kids who are obese?  Health starts at home, in the discussions we have at the dinner table, in our attitude towards exercise and fitness.  Health starts in the kitchen, in the foods we prepare for and with our families. 

Childhood obesity is a problem because:
  • Kids who are obese are more likely to be bullied
  • Kids who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults
  • Being obese increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, joint problems, high blood pressure and certain cancers
  • Kids who are obese are more likely to suffer from poor self-image throughout their entire lives
  • Kids diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be expected to have a shorter lifespan of about 17 years than kids without diabetes

How do I help my kids get back to a healthier weight?

  • Commit to making one change a week in your eating or fitness habits. 
  • Write down your own health goal.  Be specific.  Use S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific).

How do I know if I am at a healthy weight or not? 

Start by looking at yourself in the mirror.  Do you like how your body looks?  How do your clothes fit?  Are they tight?  Do you have to buy new clothes every few months because you need a bigger size?

For most of us, we know if we need to lose some weight and some inches.  A good reference point is to determine your Body Mass Index (BMI).  For adults it is simply based on the relationship between our height and our weight.  BMI for kids (ages 2-19) is based on their height, weight, plus their age and their gender (male or female).  The BMI is not a perfect tool but it is a useful tool.  Find out your BMI number by clicking here.  

Click here for some great, kid-friendly foods and ideas that kids of all ages will love!

Let’s do something meaningful about our children’s health by showing them that we can about our own health.  Children need good role models and it is up to each of us to be that role model.  The consequences of ignoring obesity in America's children are too high and too extreme to ignore.   Act as if…..

A picture from my 4th of July vacation on St. Simons Island, Georgia last weekend!

The Growing Healthy Kids movement is about inspiring, educating, and improving the health literacy of Americans so we can reverse, halt, and prevent childhood obesity and obesity-related diseases in children.  Together, we can improve the health – and lives – of America’s children, one child at a time.

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.