Overweight children, is it some kind of personality thing??

(79 Posts)

Hi, my daughter is slightly over weight. My DH and I are healthy weights. My daughter from a baby has always had a huge appetite. She's now 8 years old and is constantly hungry and whining for food. She doesn't like to exercise either. My DH and I are very active and take her on lots of walks etc, but she huffs and puffs and keeps saying she's tired, her legs hurt etc.
When I was a child, I was constantly running about, playing actively etc and eating was something that had to be done, but interrupted my play. This was nothing to do with the way I was bought up. My brother was the opposite. He was like my daughter and was overweight, more so than her.
Today, I saw a very overweight child of about 3 in a push chair saying to her mum "I'm hungry" the mum said "but you've only just had breakfast". This made me think, is it some sort of personality thing in some children? Everyone tends to blame the parents for their over weight children, but if they had a child who was constantly hungry and hated exercise what would they do?

LEMisdisappointed Mon 10-Jun-13 19:04:00

I think its very much a case of Nature AND nurture.

So some people will be genetically pre-disposed to putting on weight whilst others seem to have hollow legs.

As a child i was stick thin, im a big girl now - as are other members of my family. Same as DP.

When i had DD i was worried because she was a big baby (nine and a half pounds!) and DPs sister had two big babies that went on to have real weight problems all their lives. DD is neither skinny nor fat - i would say she is slap bang in the middle.

She has lots of energy, but take her for a walk and nine times out of ten she'll whine and huff and puff, just like yours, my DD is 7, nearly 8. If we want to go for a walk he have an incentive - so yesterday she had her "epic" wildlife spotting book that she got from macdonalds, let her hold the dog on the lead, navigate if its a signposted walk - so she goes ahead and tells us which arrow to follow.

If a child is constantly hungry though, id want to know why and maybe get them looked at. Also, i would be looking at what they were snacking on - high sugar but low energy foods will make them hungry again very quickly

LEMisdisappointed Mon 10-Jun-13 19:07:22

"personality" is not really the word you were looking for though - its genetics. Its a bit of both though. Life has changed - As children we played out all day, climbing trees etc. Now we can't let our children play out, due to more trafffic and safety worries so unless we are lucky enough to have huge gardens our children only really get to run about at school or when we take them to the park etc, compared to being out all day.

Interesting. That's true, the playing outside thing seems to be a thing of the past. My daughter is also an only child, so no siblings to play chase with. I saw a family at a theme park, having a picnic like us. Their children were eating crisps, chocolate bars etc and were all very thin. My daughter was tucking into her sandwich, fruit and yogurt and isn't. The only difference was, those kids were constantly active, even at the table, they couldn't even sit still to eat. I also got the impression that they didn't enjoy eating as much as my daughter does.
My DD doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, apart from biscuits but she loves all the high fat savoury foods.

grandmainmypocket Mon 10-Jun-13 19:41:05

I hear you. My son was always so hungry, and even now if food is left out or if he's offered food, he wants it. I give very little snacks but dish out doubles of meals if need be. I find this helps kerb his appetite and helps me determine if he's really hungry. I'm lucky because he's an active chap so he's slim but until he was 3 he was well built and I would cringe when we went out due to how much he wanted, but I don't hesitate to stop him. At 4 years old he eats my portions.
I tell friends who look after him, give him two snacks a day but no more, since he won't stop.
What are your meals like? Does she have many snacks? Juices, crisps? Maybe pop to dr for advice. Some people's metabolism is low unfortunately. Whining for food could be due to habit, I do that often when I'm bored and unable t entertain myself. Maybe she's got into the habit of asking for food and maybe teach her distraction techniques.
Good luck

grandmainmypocket Mon 10-Jun-13 19:44:49

Sounds like her snacks are not unhealthy. Is there a way to reduce her fat content, so she can hsve doubles without it affecting her as much.

We had pasta for dinner recently, she had the same amount as me. I couldn't eat all of mine, so she wanted my left overs. Then she was saying she was still hungry, so I made her finish her big drink, then waited 10 mins and she said she was still hungry, so I offered her a piece of bread, with no butter. She ate that, then later I caught her tucking into the pasta I'd saved for DH. shock

grandmainmypocket Mon 10-Jun-13 20:14:03

Bless her. As a serious foodie myself I sympathise with her. You don't want to deprive her, maybe brown pasta and more exercise. Incentives for exercise and a chat with doctor. Dietitian can give tips on how to mix meals so you could have more with less calories.

losenotloose Mon 10-Jun-13 20:22:43

I was really struggling with my ds obsession with food when I got a book, helping without harming by Ellyn satter. Things are so much better now. Without reading that book I honestly think ds would have ended up with serious issues. Check out the description on amazon.

TheSecondComing Mon 10-Jun-13 20:22:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thank you, I've tried before to get a dietitian, but the doc refused as she said that on her chart, she was a healthy weight. I used the NHS one and she came out as obese! I asked her to look at the NHS one and she said, well, she's certainly not obese, just give her more fruit and vedge and get her to exercise more. I felt like saying Wow! What fantastic advice, why didn't I think of that? hmm

sillyoldfool Mon 10-Jun-13 20:25:32

Pasta and bread will fill her up but make her hungry again quickly-that's what carbs do.
Maybe look at upping the amount of healthy protein in her diet?
A boiled egg at breakfast, sandwiches with plenty of tuna for lunch and a decent amount of lean meat/pulses for dinner? Snacks could be a handful of unsalted almonds.
Ensuring some ritual around food also helps, even snacks should be put on a plate and sat down to eat, with a drink. Mindful eating.
Finding activity which she enjoys/doesn't notice to build into your days helps too, would she prefer a cycle ride to a walk, or setting up an obstacle course in the garden, could you consider getting a trampoline?

I did read some of that book, but to be honest I just thought she'd be massive if we followed her advice! I agree that I don't want her to have low self esteem, but find it hard to believe that she could ever loose weight or have a healthy attitude to food if we followed this. It recommends letting them eat and eat until they're satisfied, and putting maybe 6 pieces of bread in front of them, so they know they can eat their fill. Lucy would eat it all, and ignore her soup that I'd spent the last 2 hours making.

WoTmania Mon 10-Jun-13 20:33:31

I think your observation about the other family is interesting. I have three DC, all of them are slim (DS1 to the point that I would be worried if he wasn't v.active and didn't have boundless energy) but I have noticed that the youngest is constantly asking for food on the days that she hasn't got preschool but the other two are in school and we are in all day. On days we are out or when the others are at home and they are all playing she isn't so 'hungry' either.

nohalfmeasures Mon 10-Jun-13 20:33:51

It's the sugar, or more specifically the fructose, that does it.
Read "Fat Chance: the Bitter Truth About Sugar." It was a total eye opener for me.
Research has shown that chemically, many are actually addicted to sugar, and it's not the obvious sweets and cakes. It's the hidden sugar.
A glass of orange juice is like having a Coke.
Recommended intake for the day is 60g. Keep a sugar diary and you'll be very surprised.
Avocado is great for a snack mashed on toast, or peanut butter as long as it's not got sugar added

She has a trampoline, but rarely uses it. She has learning difficulties and very poor balance and co-ordination. She can't ride a bike, but is learning to use a balance bike. She's not keen on this either. She does have a micro scooter, with 2 wheels on the front. She's just learnt to use this, but goes at a snails pace.
She loves swimming and has a lesson once a week, but her instructor gives her sweets after.

I agree about the sugar. I think I'm in that boat! blush She does like peanut butter. we get the whole earth one, that has no added sugar. We tend to use honey on her bran flakes instead of sugar. I know it's still sweet, but she wouldn't eat it without. It's very hard getting her to eat breakfast on a school morning.

ChunkyPickle Mon 10-Jun-13 20:44:39

I've always been tubby - from toddler-hood up.

My experience is that it seems to be hormonal (or something) - I say this because when I'm pregnant I can suddenly control what I'm eating with no effort - suddenly I feel full after the right amount, I don't fancy eating any food until I'm actually hungry, I can have just one biscuit, or say no to pudding.

When I'm not pregnant, I have no feeling at all for fullness until I'm completely stuffed. I live my life in a state of 'I could eat', I could eat an entire pack of chocolate digestives, washed down with a pint of milk and not feel uncomfortable at all.

As a result, I put on no weight at all when I'm pregnant, but when I'm not pregnant it's a constant task to monitor what I'm eating to make sure I'm not eating too much.

It sounds like your daughter is the same, but as she's a child it's your unfortunate task to monitor what she eats, and try to moderate it - and that's hard, really hard. Sorry, not much I can do to help there :S

I will say that low-carbing is the only diet that I've ever felt good on, and that in my case, cutting things out entirely - cold turkey like an addict is the only way that I can manage - moderation is just too hard to do.

ChunkyPickle Mon 10-Jun-13 20:48:40

BTW - very little difference between honey and sugar really - white sugar is sucrose, honey is a mix of glucose and fructose - 38% fructose, and 30% glucose - so in someways it's worse - the glucose'll hit immediately, and the fructose will confuse it all (just like high fructose corn syrup - has almost an identical makeup to honey)

I'm not sure why people think it's a particularly healthy alternative.

nohalfmeasures Mon 10-Jun-13 20:55:34

Eating too much sugar actually supresses the hormone in your body which tells you that you're full so you want to eat more.
I would check out sugar content of cereals. Branflakes are as high in sugar as Cheerios then you're adding honey on top.

nohalfmeasures Mon 10-Jun-13 20:56:42

What about adding blueberries to cereal?

orangeandemons Mon 10-Jun-13 21:00:23

This is interesting because my dd is like this, whereas my ds is like a stick insect. Dd used to genuinely smack her chops when she saw food being prepared as a baby.

She just loves her grub, and always has done. I try to keep on top of it, but if left unchecked she will ask for something to eat every 3/4 hours. I've timed it! She now gets one snack am and pm. But she would just graze constantly if I let her

Blueberries are no sugar substitute!grin There's no way I could eat bran flakes with no sugar. They don't taste sweet at all. Cheerio's on the other hand do taste sweet. Maybe I'll just give her them instead.

What about that sweetner Stevia? It's supposed to be natural.

Chunkypickle- Wow! That's so interesting about your pregnancies! It goes to show that there is a lot more to this than people think.

losenotloose Mon 10-Jun-13 21:09:16

I use agave nectar. Supposed to be better for you blood sugar wise. What about porridge or boiled egg and toast? Cereals aren't filling imo.

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