Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BLAME MY MOMMIE. Utterance of an obese 12year old

This morning, a 12year old boy told me to blame his mom for his weight problem. Having to wear clothes that are almost the same size with his father’s was the breaking point for his mother who brought him to our weight management clinic. He blamed his mother for always making him finish everything on his plate and rewarding him with chocolates.  According to him, his nick name –Biggy originated from his mum, and for him to keep up with the name he would just eat and eat to stay big. 

Poor woman, I could tell the pain in her tears while her massive son talked. Who wouldn’t say that she is a good mother and that she loves her child? The pediatrician had examined him and told her that the reason for her son’s weight problem was lifestyle and poor dietary habit. There is hope for this massive talking 12 year old, but can some one tell him to shut up so that mummy can hold back the tears? (I thought)

OK. I know that there are many parents who are doing the same things that this mother is being blamed for. Perhaps your own child is not obese yet or may never be, here is my candid advice.
 1.      Avoid using food as a reward. Chocolates, candies, ice cream and some pastries are usually used to reward children. They basically become more desirable than other foods 

2.      Encourage your child to eat breakfast regularly. Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer than people who skip breakfast. 

3.      Do not force your child to eat everything on his or her plate. Remember, tinny tummies hold little food. It is better to give them little meals at regular intervals. 

4.      Get your children involved in meal preparation. Allow them to join you in preparing healthy meals, they are more likely to eat something they made or participated in making. 

5.      Children do not focus on health as a priority, talk to your child about the benefits of eating well and taking care of their bodies. 

6.      Model the right behaviour. Do not expect your child to eat vegetables when you don’t. If your child is gaining too much weight, it is unlikely that the rest of the family is having a healthy diet. Take a look at what the whole family is eating and encourage a healthy balanced diet for everyone. This means
-         Eating breakfast regularly
-         Eating fewer fatty foods such as French fries and other fried foods
-         Cutting down on sweets, cakes and other carbonated drinks
-         Eating more fruits and vegetables
-         Selecting wholegrain varieties often.  

7.   Finally, remember that sometimes to say No to your child is a show of love. 

Having any challenge in your child’s nutrition? 

What else can parents do to help an obese child?

Please share in the comment area below.


  1. Good points here. Thanks

    RE: What else can parents do to help an obese child?
    I would suggest
    (1) Incorporating exercise in daily activities. For example, parking the car some distance from their destination and walking.
    I'm not an 'exercise-enthusiast' but I believe in fun exercises - swimming, walking etc#Again, the child should be encouraged to help at home i.e, sweeping or tidying the garden
    (2) Portion control. Less carbs and more protein/veg

  2. The child is absolutely right in my opinion. I had an obese niece (she's no longer obese) who weighed 150lbs @ 10years and was already insulin resistant. She was a skinny baby until 4 when she had surgery and they gave her some steroids. The doctor told her mom to watch her because steroids make u eat but my sister didn't listen.

    Her house was like a supermarket filled with junk food. Those kids never drank water, always juice and whole milk. There were unhealthy snacks stocked in the fridge and pantry that the kids had access to whenever they wanted. In my opinion, if the junk food wasn't so readily available, they would be forced to eat healthy. A 5 or 10 yr old is not going to the grocery store to buy food, the mother ultimately decides what food reaches the house.

    Suggestions: My niece lost weight when she started playing soccer and her mom cut out the junk food. So exercise and healthy eating.

    I think what you eat (diet) is more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight.

  3. Obesity is gradually becomming a comon sight in our children, I believe that you you have here is useful infomation for every parent to use. Thanks for sharing. I keep wondering why kids love chocolate, how can I stop my daugther from eating chocolates? may be you can share some tips.

  4. Interesting fact on the breakfast. I guess it's cause we'll use all the energy up in our daily activities? And i hate it when parents insist on you finishing your food!! Geez


  5. Thanks again for the alert...we parents think over-feeding a child is love...in nigeria where our meals are mostly carbohydrate related, how do we cope..i know we should avoid fried foods & snacks,,but definitely not rice, yam, bread, eba.

  6. Thanks for this educative article, I will take to your advice.

  7. @ Naijamum in L, I agree with you totally, portion control is key and should be practiced by all.Thanks for stopping by.

    @ Madame Sting,am glad that your niece has lost the weight and that her mum got it right afterward.Thanks for stopping by.

  8. @ Ehis, am glad you stopped by.

    Chocolate is addictive,although addictive behaviour is most often associated with alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or compulsive behaviour, chocolate may evoke similar behavioral reactions in persons that are susceptible.

    The most important thing when trying to lead a healthy life is to surround your family with healthy options, and limit the number of unhealthy ones. For instance, have lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in the house and refrigerator, very few of the so-called “treats” such as cookies and cakes and chocolates. If children are surrounded by healthy food options they will grow up thinking that is the normal way to eat. Good habits are important things to develop from an early age.

  9. @Adiya, appreciate you stopping by and commenting.Yes it's good to waste not and want not, but not to eat all even when the brain says stop.

    @Editor, am glad you stopped by

    @ Ibhade, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes our staple in Nig is mainly carbs, but we have a lot of vegetables and fruits too. In my opinion, our problem is lack of awareness. Most people who farm vegetables do not eat them, they rather sell them for money to buy rice, yam, garri, junks etc. People find it hard to eat foods (usually healthy foods) from other regions, eating salads as a meal should be encouraged instead of as an add-on (perhaps 1 spoon)to rice.

    Our popular stables garri, yam, rice can be prepared in variety of healthy ways, incorporating vegetables to have a balanced/healthy outcome. At least, we still eat organic in Nig.

  10. Once again, great advice. Keep up the good work!

  11. I agree that parents must take responsibility for their obese child. It can be a challenge though but of course one which must be faced head on. I suppose the best thing would be to prevent obesity in the first place.

  12. @ Steve, thanks for stopping by.
    @ Adura, I agree with you totally, these tips surely can help prevent child obesity. Thanks for reading and commenting too.

  13. Sometimes it's hard for us as parents to say no for our children when it comes to food, but I think that in some cases it's really important to do it. Thank you for the great advices!

  14. No 7 is the key but some parents find it hard


  15. Wooow...first time in here.Great job, madam.I'm on.Cheers!!!

  16. Well said sis, parents need to take control and watch what we feed our children.

  17. It's strange how the poorest people eat the most I guess to fill the emptiness or sadness. At some point we all must take control of our own bodies and minds.
    It's difficult when you live under someone's else's rule but it can be done with the help of a doctor or other concerned adult. I remember when I was a child and went to a health clinic. I loved fruits and vegies but my mom only bought canned foods to save money. The doctor told her I was to eat half a head of lettuce for lunch and dinner in addition to a whole cucumber and tomato. I was really happy about that.

  18. Hi Chioma,

    This is sad, but it goes on everyday. When I was growing up, I didn't eat the healthiest foods. Because my mother only knew what her mother taught her. But there comes a time when these cycles have to be broken. I am the one who is breaking the cycles. It starts with the parents. Once we get ourselves together, then we can steer our children in the right direction.

    I believe parents must lead by example, as you mention and they should also educate the child why certain foods are healthier than others.

    I enjoyed reading this post!

    Take care,


  19. Hey all, thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting. Been away for awhile, fresh blog update coming soon.

  20. not the same profile in all settings. in the US for example, poor people start out life eating fattening foods bcos they are affordable and they continue like that.
    i would say in nigeria for example, it doesnt exactly work out like that - poor children generally are malnourished while its the rich kids that are obese. Even when poor kids eat carbs and such, there is an equilibrum or excess of energy expenditure that keeps their weight down. of course in their adulthood, perhaps to make up for their poor childhood, as their socioeconomic status improves, so does their consumption of unfit food - with a deficit of energy expenditure to match.
    childhood obesity in nigeria is a problem of the rich, thats why unfortunately a US intervention model might not work.

  21. So true. If we could not take control of our children then our children would control us.