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Overweight daughter - advice please

(99 Posts)
Eglantyne Thu 04-Oct-12 11:29:48

Hello, sorry this is long)
My dd is 8, tall for her age (99 centile), and also very heavy. She is now about 7 stone, and now needs age 13 school skirts (for height she would need 10-11). She is all bum, tum and thighs. She was a heavy baby at 9lb 11. Once she got to age 2 1/2 she was off the top of the chart for weight, and still is.

I don't think I'm burying my head in the sand or missing the obvious, but I seriously don't know why she's so heavy.

This is what she had to eat yesterday, which is very typical and always has been. Porridge with tsp honey, very watered down OJ. Break-time water and pear. Lunch wholemeal pitta with slice of quorn ham and spinach, nectarine, small petit filous, humzinger fruit bar, carton of blackcurrant juicy water. After school snack was a Go Ahead biscuit and water. Dinner was couscous, quorn fillet, cauliflower, carrot, peas, low salt Kallo stock. Desert slices of apple and unbuttered piece of malt loaf. Small glass of watered down apple juice.

Week days meals will be pretty similar, weekends she is allowed a glass of lemonade and we have a vegetarian roast dinner with "proper" desert eg apple crumble and custard on Sundays.

On Fridays we go for an ice cream or hot choc after school if she has enough stickers on her chart. (I know food shouldn't be a reward, it's more about the outing really.)

Her portion sizes aren't enormous - I still use the children's plastic plates deliberately so she can't possibly be having adult portions.

She can't be stealing food as there's nothing really in the house to steal! Thee are still Easter eggs in the back of the fridge - if she was stealing food they would have gone long ago! She doesn't have any opportunities to buy food herself. Given the opportunity however she would eat and eat. I manage that when I am with her, but I am aware that she is the first to the food table and last to leave it at parties etc.

She does 5 hours of organised sport / dance during the week, plus PE twice a week at school and playing on the park several days a week, plus walks, bike rides etc at weekends. We are unable to walk to school, but I do park about 1/2 mile away and we walk the last bit.

DH and I are at a loss as to what to do. Dh hasn't wanted to us to take her to the doctors as he was worried it would make an issue of it for her. Up till now dd has been fairly oblivious, apart from getting upset when favourite clothes get too tight very quickly, but since the start of this term she has been looking at herself in the mirror and crying that she is fat, so I really have to help her now.

Could there be a medical reason? I'm thinking of making an appointment with the GP and taking along a food diary and the red book but not my daughter, in the first instance, as I'm so worried about upsetting her. Up till now when she's asked me if she's fat I have replied that she is bigger than some other girls, but that she is beautful. Taking her to the GP would be admitting to her that, actually, she is fat.

PS In case it matters, DH, me and DS, who have a very similar diet, and less exercise, are not overweight.

Any advice? Thanks.

Floralnomad Thu 04-Oct-12 11:35:49

I would definitely go to the GP if what you have said in your OP is correct ,however are you sure she is not getting extra stuff at school from other children. An acquaintance of mine had a very large DD and didn't realise that she was getting other children to swap food with her and getting extra less healthy things from them as well.

LilyBolero Thu 04-Oct-12 11:43:58

You could take her to the GP, because if she has been upset, you could say that you want to address her upset, and make sure that she is healthy (stay away from 'thin/fat' and concentrate on 'health'), and that the GP will be able to check that.

She has a lovely varied diet - maybe a little high in sugar? (in terms of fruit sugars?), but there's nothing obvious to address is there!

As a comparison, my dd is 9, she is tall for her age, and definitely solid, she weighs 5stone7, but is more 'hips' than 'tum' iyswim - she has quite a mature shape, and is slim round the waist. She wears age 9-10 skirts, and age 10-11 trousers for the length.

Her typical diet is;
breakfast - bowl of muesli with s/skimmed milk
lunch - either school dinner, or packed lunch - sandwich (1 piece bread) with ham/cucumber, brie/cucumber etc, cereal bar, apple, carton orange juice
tea - something like pasta with peas, sweetcorn, cheese, followed by a yoghurt or a yakult drink

Plenty of fruit to snack on - she likes a good variety of fruit so there is always lots to snack on.

I have noticed that girls age 8-9 do fill out quite considerably, looking at her class - although dd is solid, she is also slim in comparison to many of the girls, apart from the ones who are the waif types (iykwim).

ByTheWay1 Thu 04-Oct-12 11:46:08

I suppose it could be medical - but usually it is that same old - too many calories in v. those expended.

You need to keep a food diary over the week - EVERY morsel eaten needs to go in there....

My best friend has a "heavy" for her height daughter - she found that her mum was feeding her junk after school as she did the pick up - sweets and crisps EVERY day, and also portion sizes had gone out of control - even on a small plate - she was told that everyone in the family should use their own palm as a guide- (not including fingers) one cupped palm of protein, one of carbs and 2 of veg is a portion - it is not as much as you think sometimes.

So for a child age 6-8 she was told two fish fingers/ 1 thick sausage (quorn or otherwise)/ HALF a chicken breast or quorn equivalent and a rounded tablespoon of pasta/mash/couscous with a load of veg. As she is very active, (my friend's daughter was not) yours would have a little more than this - but not much, and the increase would be in the protein.

Mrscog Thu 04-Oct-12 11:55:37

The diet you've outlined is healthy, but I'd say possibly on the upper end of a 'maintenance calorie' amount (although I'm no expert), but don't underestimate the calorific value of fruit - in the day you've outlined there are probably 60 in the pear, 80-90 in the nectarine, 100 from all the watered down juice, and another 40 in the apple. That totals 300. Then the go-ahead biscuit, fruitzinger and malt loaf is proabbly another 250 calories. So that's 550 (ish) calories from sugary sources and approximately 1/3 of her daily calroie requirements.

Maybe you could encourage more water as drinks (maybe cut down to 1 watered down juice per day) and cut one thing out of the lunchbox - probably no need for a nectarine and fruitzinger, and just see if that makes a difference over time?

tryingtoleave Thu 04-Oct-12 11:55:50

Is quorn alright for children? We don't get it here (I think) but my dad eats other pretend meat and I was horrified at the ingredients. Maybe it doesn't agree with her?

Eglantyne Thu 04-Oct-12 12:12:54

Thanks for your replies. I have kept a food diary for the last two weeks in preparation for taking her to the GP, and I did surprise myself with how much fruit she has. So maybe it is fruit sugars? But is that enough to make her sooo much bigger than all the kids whose parents give them crisps and chocolate straight after school every day?!

Floralnomad I don't think she can be swapping at school because the other kids should, in theory, not have any unhealthy food in their lunch boxes either. And as she doesn't eat meat and hates butter, there's probably not much she'd want to swap for!

Bytheway1 the palm tip is a good one, thanks.

tryingtoleave Quorn is fine for children over 12 months, but I hadn't thought about whether it could be that, I shall investigate.

lljkk Thu 04-Oct-12 12:30:19

I agree only food diary will illuminate, I suspect there are hidden calories in there.

BigStickBIWI Thu 04-Oct-12 12:34:27

Can you substitute some of the fruit for veg? e.g. cucumber/celery/peppers, etc? All that fruit will be sending her blood sugar very high, spiking insulin levels, which will be laying down fat. For the same reason, could you cut out some of the fruit juice - will she drink plain water?

talkingnonsense Thu 04-Oct-12 13:51:26

I think she needs more protein and fewer carbs- egg for breakfast instead of porridge sometimes? Lean meat unless you are veggie for particular reason? Limit cheese. Cut down in those fruit drinks, water or milk better.

mertin Thu 04-Oct-12 17:07:13

It doesn't sound like she eats much more than my 7 year old but I'd say she eats different things.

I steer away from the cereal/fruit bars because they can be really high in calories. I don't know if I'm right but I think those humzinger things are really high. I know they seem healthier but a kit kat or a party ring would have far less calories.

Mine is probably offered a similar amount of food but only eats around half of it. Never clears a plate.

I know my friend has a dd who's a bit overweight - always the last at the table at a party, clears her plate whatever given, would prefer to eat than play. But one thing I have noticed is that she's offered more food in the first place. Mine will have 2 fish fingers and probably eat 1, their norm is 3 or 4. Mine will have a slice or two of pizza, their norm is a whole pizza.

I think if you're sure about the portion sizes it might well be worth a visit to the dr. But also - do look at the calories on things like cereal bars, fruit bars, malt loaf because you might find she'd be just as happy with a party ring or a kit kat which although seem less healthy are half the calories.

It's very unfair I think that some seem to have racing metabolisms and others don't.

Eglantyne Thu 04-Oct-12 17:11:55

talkingnonsense Isn't everyone vegetarian for a reason?! My reason is that I don't like eating dead things! Or did you mean a religious reason? I was told by the hv to stop giving her milk to drink btw.

Surely it can't just be the watered down juice? Her friends have twice as much junk food / treats, and are half the size!

Eglantyne Thu 04-Oct-12 17:17:56

Hmmm, swap a bar that is 100% fruit with a kitkat?! Btw party rings, you might be surprised to hear, are not vegetarian, they contain gelatine. I do need to think about the calories in fruit / fruit bars a bit more, clearly. And sadly - I have never counted calories for myself.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 04-Oct-12 17:20:20

Underactive thyroid? (or does that not happen in children ?) Sounds like her metabolism is slower than other children and maybe the unfortunate thing is she needs less calories to maintain a steady weight.

Eglantyne Thu 04-Oct-12 17:20:33

Humzinger fruit bar 39 cals, less than 0.1g fat.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 04-Oct-12 17:20:49

There's plenty of other veggie protein other than Quorn.

Taifun basil tofu tastes just like mozzarella with basil
You can make fake tuna sandwiches with braised tofu (pretty fatty though)
You can make ace seitan sausages really easily, and they could go cold in a lunchbox...

Eglantyne Thu 04-Oct-12 17:24:07

One of your 5 a day. Kit Kat 207 cals, 4g fat, definitely not one of your 5 a day!

Asmywhimsytakesme Thu 04-Oct-12 17:27:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Asmywhimsytakesme Thu 04-Oct-12 17:29:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BigStickBIWI Thu 04-Oct-12 17:29:37

It isn't about the calories, though, Eglantyne. It's about the sugar and the effect it has on your blood stream. Sugar raises insulin levels, which lay down fat. The insulin also sweeps all the sugar out of the bloodstream. If a huge amount has been dumped into the blood stream, which is what happens when you eat or drink easily digestible carbs, like juice/fruit, then is it swept out very quickly. The blood sugar drops very quickly, leaving you feeling hungry again. And so the cycle begins again.

Fat is not only very necessary for children's growth and development, it is also very satiating, and does not provoke the insulin spike, therefore if you eat fat you are much less likely to get hungry again so quickly.

mertin Thu 04-Oct-12 17:34:48

A two finger kitkat is around 110 calories. Very popular on the slimming world diet.

I'll go now as I'm clearly not helping.

Eglantyne Thu 04-Oct-12 17:41:39

Sorry mertin, I didn't mean to sound ungrateful.

mertin Thu 04-Oct-12 17:45:04

No I'm chuckling here. I do understand where you're coming from.

AngryFeet Thu 04-Oct-12 18:19:04

I really don't think fruit is the issue here. DD is 8 and can eat 4 peaches and 2 boxes of strawberries a day and she weighs 4 stone. Unless her normal meals are big portions I can't see how she could be overweight. My DS is overweight (4 stone at 5.5 years and 110cm) but only slightly and he is always finishing off peoples meals and he eats quite a lot. Your DD sounds quite overweight (is she nearly 10 or just 9?). Saying that I was 7 stone at 11 (a stone more than the other girls in my class) and it just fell off when I started secondary school (or I grew and the weight stayed the same probably).

AngryFeet Thu 04-Oct-12 18:22:13

Oh I didn't finish saying I give my kids the same food but DS is overweight and DD is very slim and toned. DS does eat a bit more but not much to be honest. I think he has my genes (tendancy to eat when not hungry and to be a bit podgy - plus short and stumpy!) and DD has DHs genes where they automatically eat until satisfied and have long lean bodies.

Are you or your DH overweight?

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