Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

HELP! Obese DS (12)

(29 Posts)

Hi, I'm really worried about my 12 yr old boy, today the doctor told us that he is obese, he is 5"0 and he weighs 12 stone and 3lbs. He is always hungry and is reluctant to exercise so i don't know what to do, please help and give some advice

QOD Sun 24-Aug-14 17:57:02

Does he look fat? I'm about that weight and height as a 45 year old size 12/14

I would say that of course you have to take action if advised, but initially I'd recommend going for large healthy meals as I have a friend with two very very obese children who she periodically starves or feeds rubbish giant meals

Nothing worse than a hungry child but it's all the lots of protein and bulky veg and not too much carb
No full sugar drinks and try to avoid all fizz

QOD, Yes, he does actually look very fat now especially compared to his friends of the same age. his younger brothers are overweight too.

TheHomicidalPowerOfaTypo Sun 24-Aug-14 18:06:30

Make exercise as fun as you can and lead by example. My ds (8) is reluctant to exercise (as am I) so we found an exercise we can do together. We go out cycling, not far, but far enough to break a sweat and still get home without dying.

He's also never not hungry so I make sure his meals are reasonably healthy, he can have one 'unhealthy' snack and up to three pieces of fruit in a day. We also talk about why certain foods are best eaten in moderation.

How far do you cycle with him ?

MMcanny Sun 24-Aug-14 18:13:37

I'm that height, a stone lighter and a 40-year old woman - I'm also a size 14 and officially overweight. At 12 they can join the gym, sounds like as a family you need to make changes, would you be able to go to the gym with your son, do it together? Around here they have free bweight management classes in council gyms and kids can start using equipment at 12 so maybe that's something to consider if you can. Another thing is to focus on getting his five a day into him rather than instantly dieting. I find if we make an effort to do this they have little appetite for extras or big portions of other less healthy food. your doc will prob also give you lots of dietician support if you ask for it. Good luck.

He does have a gym membership but really doesnt like going.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 24-Aug-14 18:32:15

Find exercise that you can do together. Also how much is he drinking a day? DD was always hungry but we realised she was not drinking a lot so have upped what she is drinking at home and she seems to be better.

Happy36 Sun 24-Aug-14 18:36:22

Do try to exercise with him as much as possible. Walking and cycling daily will help him shed some weight so that he finds exercising easier and perhaps has the confidence to try swimming (once term has started see if you can take him to a pool in the evenings, e.g. 8pm, when it´s mostly quiet and just adults there). Then once he feels fitter he may want to start playing a sport or doing something active like martial arts - start looking around for classes or things he might enjoy, but for now, focus on walking and cycling.

Around the house, can you get him moving more? Ask him to take things up and downstairs for you, do hoovering, help in the garden, wash the car, carry shopping bags in from the car (or walk to the shops), hang out washing - all much better than sitting in front of the computer or television.

It sounds as though his diet is healthy. Can you give him a slightly smaller plate, or change the ratios so that there are more vegetables on his plates, also make small changes e.g. swapping sauces for healthier ones, eating boiled chicken instead of fried, etc. ? Perhaps cut down the unhealthy snacks to 2 per week instead of everyday? Also make sure he eats breakfast as skipping it, or eating a too small breakfast, can lead to weight gain as well as eating more, or more unhealthily, over the rest of the day. A final suggestion - eat dinner early in the evening and absolutely no eating after that, so that his body can use up all of the calories.

Good luck!

TheHomicidalPowerOfaTypo Sun 24-Aug-14 19:12:25

We only cycle between 2 and 4 miles but frequently.

IAMACLANGER Sun 24-Aug-14 19:40:05

Sorry. But that does seem quite overweight - though everyone looks different whatever their weight/height - so really impossible to say. There must be some form of exercise he likes... even if just walking (fast) to start with.
What does he eat... average day/week? Is he happy - could he be secretly eating a bit more than you think?

he always eats a lot and I often worry about how much he eats when out with friends. He usually eats about 3000 calories a day but sometimes more.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Sun 24-Aug-14 20:55:33

You have my sympathy- it's so hard. Have you tried having a really honest discussion about it all- I think that's the best way to start. Then agree to start making 'healthy swaps', like low fat cheese instead of full, hummus instead of full fat dips, low fat crisps, porridge instead of coco pops, that sort of thing. And maybe doing a brisk walk with him every day?

magpiegin Sun 24-Aug-14 21:00:31

Does he walk to school? I also agree with doing healthy swaps with food. Get rid of the crisps, cake and chocolate I'm the house and get fruit in. Also agree with having an honest conversation with him.

Beastofburden Sun 24-Aug-14 21:10:02

Poor you. It's very hard when this happens.

I would start by cutting out sugar, especially in drinks, including fruit juice.
Also get rid of any ready meals and fried food, rich sauces, creamy curry, pie, chips, crisps, etc.

Give him lots of pasta, weetabix, porridge, vegetables, lean meat, fish if he will eat it.

You can't control,what he eats with his mates, but if you control what he eats at home it's a start.

Try to find a sport he doesn't hate. I hate the gym too. At 12 he might fancy something he can join in with mates. Kick boxing? Swimming? Kayaking? A couple of classes a week and you would see a difference.

chinamoon Sun 24-Aug-14 21:32:57

I wouldn't put him on a diet. That would cause problems later on. But if you are all overweight, then you need to be honest with each other about why, what impact it's having now and what impact it'll have down the line. he needs to drop down to around 2000 cals so cut down his intake by 50%. That will feel like a massive change. The least noticeable way to do this is by cutting down on fat.

At that age he could shoot up and in a couple of years time that weight will just be a bit hefty, by 18 it could be normal. But he needs to stop putting weight on.

Can you focus on the whole family trying out healthy living for a month? or even for a week? Do something together for an hour a day - swimming, cycling, ball game, water fight, gym, a walk in the woods or a night walk in the city etc. Don't worry at all if he resists. Tell him it's normal not to want to but you're going anyway. Remind him the reason for doing it is you love him and want him to be fit and it's your job as a mum to help him be healthy.

If you do a health kick it doesn't need to be radical yet. If it is, they might reject it. You could start with lower fat foods they already like: grilled fish fingers, oven chips, peas, reduced sugar ketchup. Make sure he drinks lots of water all day long. Make your own burgers with lean beef (just mince, moulded into patties and grilled) with baked potatoes and lots of salad.

Buy mini milk lollies or juice lollies as a sweet treat for after dinner. They have less than 50 cals but it cheers up DC of that age to know that losing weight or getting healthy isn't a life sentence of lettuce and brown rice.

Give him sugar free gum to chew between meals.

At the end of the week ask if he feels better. Chances are he will feel slimmer and have more energy. Those are good incentives. Give loads of encouragement and lots of non-food treats for each week you all keep it up (new CD, new phone app, new tee-shirt, get a film he's always wanted to see etc.)

Answers to a few questions:
He is taken to/from school by car. I feel he would struggle to get there on the tube alone, especially when changing trains.

My 3 children are overweight but only DS(12) is obese. My husband I are not overweight.

SavoyCabbage Sun 24-Aug-14 22:25:22

The children I know who are over weight seem to be eating almost all of the time. They almost don't know they are doing
it I think.

About three weeks ago my best friend decided to tackle her 11 year old sons weight. They are going swimming four times a week. At the moment, there isn't much else he can do because of his weight although he does scouts which us quite active.

He has list a lot of weight in a short time(she has too although she isn't overweight!) and he is so happy about it.

If you get him a pedometer it might help you to see how much he is walking during the day but I do recommend the swimming route.

SavoyCabbage- I think you're right, my boys will often ask for something to eat whilst actually eating :/

lucyclaudeclaude Sun 24-Aug-14 22:47:25

I know this sounds really harsh but the bottom line is that if he eats more calories than he burns he is just going to get bigger and bigger. It is imperative that you help him now. Exercise as suggested above that is fun, plus sensible treats on top of a well-balanced diet. Pop corn is great ( I bought a popcorn maker on Amazon for £10 it has proved great value, a low cal treat and low cost too). I know its easy to spoil your kids with treats (I'm guilty too!) But its soooo damaging to their long term health). Take him to watch the footie/athletics, peer pressure works well! (I really understand your probs and sympahise!) X

SavoyCabbage Sun 24-Aug-14 23:30:08

Yes, I've seen dc doing that too! ( I work with children).

I say "it takes 20 minutes to digest your food so that's why you are still hungry"

Or
"That's good because lunch is in an hour"
If they say they are hungry.

Beastofburden Mon 25-Aug-14 08:12:40

If you drive him to school that is excellent. You can drop him off ten minutes walk away on week 1, 15 mins away on wk 2, etc.

And YY to swimming.

I know it seems a lot of trouble. But you have a golden window right now. He will have a growth spurt in the next five years. Is that and he will probably never lose that weight. Teenage years are bad enough for them without a weight problem; from your POV motivating and controlling a 12 year old is harder but it's worse when they are 15.

Try to believe that it is possible, because it is. And he won't be alone, loads of kids his age will get a wake-up call. He may even find some of his mates decide to get fit as well.

If you were to do it as a family, even better, given the little ones need to look at this too.

I know it's a pain and a bit sad to have this invade your family life, but it will be worth it, honest.

Beastofburden Mon 25-Aug-14 08:13:25

That should say, "miss that, and he will probably never lose the weight"

RandomMess Mon 25-Aug-14 08:14:50

I have to say I'm 5' and 9 stone and am really very chunky and need to lose weight for health reasons.

yes yes yes to increasing his exercise and reduce sitting still activities hopefully a puberty height growth spurt will also help slim him out.

starburst1979 Mon 25-Aug-14 08:20:50

Hi Op, I'm in was in a very similar situation a few months back. My DS12 was around 5-3 and 12 stone but he looked bigger. He and dh decided to get fit together. They walked round a local golf course finding golf balls, they joined a boxing fitness class and have a healthy meal plan (they eat a lot of protein, quorn and veggies). It's turned into a who can be healthier competition now.

The weight is dropping off them both and making such a difference to their lives.
Good luck op

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now