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My 6 year old daughter is overweight, despite my best efforts. How can I help her?

(92 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:05:04

Hi, my 6.5 year old daughter is very tall for her age but also a bit overweight. She eats quite healthily when she's at home but I'm aware that my MIL tends to feed her crisps, sweets and basically what ever she asks for when she's at her house. I've spoken to her about it before, but she just agrees not to, then does it anyway.
She tends to eat a lot of bread. It used to be white, but recently, she'll eat wholmeal as long as it's not seaded. She likes fruit but will only eat carrots un desgised. She'll eat most other vedgetables liquedised as soup.
She doesn't have much of a sweet tooth but loves cheese, yogart and crisps.
I'm not a great cook but always try to avoid highly processed foods high in sugar and fat.
She also excercises quite a lot. We love going on country walks together and she does ballet once a week.
I could do with some tips to help her to loose weight and get fitter. Both my DH and I were very slim as children but my mum and her sister were always overweight and still are. Could it be genetic?
Anyway, I'd be very greatful for any advice. smile

Marne Fri 29-Jul-11 20:11:08

How much is a bit over weight? I'm sure the odd packet of crisps and sweets from MIL wont hurt (if its only once a week not every day). It could be genetic, some people/children are just bigger built, my step daughter (now almost 11 years old) has always been over weight, her mother is over weight as is her grandmother, she loves her food but doesn't really eat any more than most 10 year olds, i think she will alway struggle with weight, she has started to go up taller and looks a little less over weight but she's still alot bigger than her class mates at school.

3monkeys Fri 29-Jul-11 20:14:20

My DD is 'big'. She eats plenty cos she loves food! i do limit her but again, both our mums feed her!
She has recently taken up football over the last 2 years and this has helped massively. She'l never be skinny, and she is starting to develop already which she hates. She's nearly 10

mummyloveslucy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:21:26

I don't know how tall she is exactly but she's the height of an average 9 year old, and weighs 5 stone. She is also showing signs of early puberty. She gets greasy hair and is getting body odour. I think she might be developing breast buds too. I'll be taking her to the docs soon to get it checked out.

Loopymumsy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:22:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Littlefish Fri 29-Jul-11 20:35:10

According to the chart I've looked at, your dd is above the top of the scale for her weight. Without knowing her height, it's impossible to know whether she is in proportion or not. However, I think you should definitely take her to see your GP. 6 is very young to be developing breast buds.

mummyloveslucy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:37:05

It'she also hard getting her to drink enough. She suffers from constipation so she really needs to drink more. She won't drink water, so we give her sugar free squash without aspartaine. She also likes milk and apple juce, but not watered down.

mummyloveslucy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:40:16

I think she's about 4ft 3in.

Batteryhuman Fri 29-Jul-11 20:40:20

Portion size is the key. I am constantly amazed at the size of the portions that DSs larger friends consider to be normal. Water only with meals (apart from breakfast when juice or milk is on offer), eat together whenever possible and don't give adult size portions.

QuintessentialShadow Fri 29-Jul-11 20:40:49

From what I gather in your OP, your dd eats an insane amounts of fat, with cheese, youghurts, crisps, etc. I also would not say that going on country walks and ballet once a week is a lot of exercise. How long are the country walks?
My 6.5 year old boy exercises a lot. He goes on one mountain trek per week in summer (usually up to 700 meters, so a 3-5 hour walk/climb), swims twice a week, and bounces on his trampoline for a few hours per day. In winter he is skiing 3-4 times per week, in addition to the swimming.

Can you let her take on one more activity, such as swimming, per week? Do you have a garden with space for a trampoline? Is it possibly to take her to the park on her bike a few times per week? Scoot to school?

mummyloveslucy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:47:56

She has quite poor co-ordination and has only just learned to peddle a bike. We'll be getting her a new bike soon, so hopefully she'll soon be confident to cycle with stableizers. That should help.

I'll see what sporty hobbies are available too.

crispyseaweed Fri 29-Jul-11 20:49:18

Ballet and walking may not be burning off enough calories. She needs to get out of breath, and sometimes ballet and walking are not enough for a child. Can you get her into swimming, jogging, etc as other folk have suggested.
Also portion size has to be looked at. Do you as a family eat big portions.? Also crisps and cheese are high in fat so maybe try to cut bak on these, and buy only the low fat versions..
Perhaps you need to speak to MIL in a very serious fashion and say how worried you are about DDs' weight and how you desperately dont want her to grow into a fat teenager. etc..
Persevere and dont keep anything in the larder that is fattening that DD can get hold of without your permission.
Good luck.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 29-Jul-11 20:51:14

dd1 is 4, and has a tendency to put on weight if we don't monitor her.
dd1 will eat pretty much what's put in front of her, so we start with really small portions, and take time to chat a while and have a drink before offering (limited) seconds, so she has the chance to feel fuller.

the thing that has really made a difference though is exercising every single day. without fail. dd1 has a sticker chart for keeping active, and i get her to remind me if i haven't provided her with the opportunity to get moving. if it's a miserable day we'll find somewhere to walk to, like the library, and i make sure she really goes at a pace where she's getting out of puff. she's not one of life's naturally active people, and we both have to put lots of effort in to find things she wants to do, but it works.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 29-Jul-11 20:53:22

dd1 is poorly co-ordinated, and has found a scooter easier than a bike. she also run around so much more if with more active friends, so work out who the little dynamos in her class are and meet them in the park!

mrspnut Fri 29-Jul-11 20:54:26

At this age the key is exercise. Go to the park every day after school, cycle or scoot to school and back. Swimming as a family every weekend.

Can you borrow a dog to walk, a brisk walk after dinner can make a difference.

All of this exercise will help in controlling her weight without her feeling that she is missing out on something. It also will help her with her long term weight control.

Look for ways to increase movement at every opportunity, we do a lot of crazy dancing to the radio when I'm cooking with stickers for best air guitar etc.

dikkertjedap Fri 29-Jul-11 20:58:05

I agree that it sounds that she has way too little exercise. My dd (five year old) has at least one and often 2 hours of exercise involving lots of running, jumping, cycling every day of the week. I think recommended for this age group is at least one hour a day (given how much they sit on their bums at school). On top of this slightly smaller portions, no sugary drinks, cheese is also fattening, as is yogurt, so maybe go for low fat options. However, I would try not to let your dd know that you think that she is overweight, you don't want to make it a big issue for her. Good luck.

mummyloveslucy Fri 29-Jul-11 20:58:43

She doesn't eat that big portions at home but MIL will often say quite proudly that she's done really well this morning, she's had 3 breakfasts. shock She'll have something when she wakes, then something with the rest of the family, then something else with the students.
I work 3 nights a week, so she's at MIL's while I sleep. She always says she's hungry at night, in order to delay bedtime. My MIL will fill her up with bread and butter or yogart etc.
I think for us to change things MIL needs to be on our side. She does find it very hard to say no to our DD though. She also has loads of fattening food around the house that almost teases our DD.

MumblingRagDoll Fri 29-Jul-11 21:07:12

She isn't getting less excersize than my 7 year old...ballet, walking plus school PE is enough for a 6 year old. All these tales of skiing and mountain hiking are all very well if you live in the Swiss Alps but for those of us who live in suburan England it's not so practical

mummyloveslucy Fri 29-Jul-11 21:08:02

We do have a park which is quite a walk from our house and there is a massive hill there and back. We don't go very often because it's hard work, but we could do that more often.
She's actually home educated, so spends a great deal of time out and about in the fresh air, but very rarely works up a sweat. We take her out somewhere every day.

QuintessentialShadow Fri 29-Jul-11 21:49:50

Mumblingragdoll, I did not give examples of my childrens activities so that mummyloveslucy should copy these for her dd, but as an example of how much exercise they are doing. I know what life in suburban England is like, which is why I suggested swimming, cycling in the park, etc, as alternatives, or a trampoline. The key is to be active and burn off calories, as well as build muscle to ensure a healthy life.

MumblingRagDoll Fri 29-Jul-11 22:25:26

I didn't meant to be rude Quint it's just that people telling the OP that what her child does isn't much seemed wrong....now I see she's home educated though, maybe she needsmore excersise. No PE or running in the playground might be making the difference.

I agree that a trip to the doctors is the best possible dvice.

If she's home educated then she's not getting PE or to run around in the playground, I think maybe a Gymnastics class or swimming would be good...

mummyloveslucy Sat 30-Jul-11 13:23:38

Thanks everyone. I will take her to the docs re her development and see what he says about diet and excercise. I will see what active sports and activities are available locally, get her riding her bike and maybe swimming lessons.
She does meet other children regularly, but perhaps doesn't run around with them like she would in a play ground. We usually meet at each others houses or in country parks, but they are not secure so I do have to tell her not to run too far etc.

LIZS Sun 31-Jul-11 20:44:17

Agree with others about exercise - maybe a trampolining club, another dance class like tap which is a bit more aerobic or swimming. ds is dyspraxic and has never taken to a bike but could manage a scooter. Do you exercise at all, could you find something to start together like yoga ?

I do wonder if her metabolism is related to her weight, ie. the constipation, interest in high gluten and carbohydrate-rich foods, and her apparent early development. I think a fairly limited diet is quite common amongst SN kids - ds likes the familiarity of having the came thing for lunch during the holidays as a default ! Also could she be eating out of boredom or for attention (not meant as a criticism but could be the first thing she thinks of when not being otherwise entertained).

Chundle Sun 31-Jul-11 20:49:52

My dd is 7 and 3 months and averageheight and she weighs 3 stone 10lbs which is average. Why don't you go to docs and ask them for advice as they will be able to point you in right direction and maybe a dietician?

Sidge Sun 31-Jul-11 21:08:24

She is rather heavy but if she is eating three squares a day PLUS snacks of cheese, yoghurt, crisps, sweets etc then she is only going to get fatter.

Your 6.5 year old only weighs 6 pounds less than my 12.7 year old!

You need to get tough with your MIL - I appreciate it's hard when she's looking after her for you but maybe tell her that your GP has said she needs to watch her diet? No child needs to be fed constantly and in the long run she's not doing her any favours.

Also overweight children are more likely to enter adrenarche prematurely - this isn't puberty as such, but means that the child gets spotty, can get BO, and starts to lay down fat on the chest, hips and thighs.

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