Step by Step: Kids Trimming Down is a six part series of reports designed to help children live healthier lives. About 25 percent of our American children (about 9 million) are overweight. 15-percent are severely overweight or obese. The obesity epidemic is placing children at a much higher risk for type II diabetes, heart disease, joint and breathing problems, as well as certain cancers.
Pediatrician- tells us about the obesity epidemic. He explains the differences between overweight and obesity, and shows us how to plot our kids’ growth on a growth chart. This chart allows parents to compare their children’s weight to their height. It also shows how individuals compare to others their age.
Psychologist-Looks at the reasons why children decide to lose weight, the benefits and the sacrifices of adjusting their lifestyles to lose weight and how the way they eat influences how much you eat.
Dietitian-teaches the importance of planning meals based on the Food Pyramid. However, there are some foods on the pyramid we should eat more of, while eating less of others.
Exercise physiologist-looks at the importance of teaching kids to simply move, play and help do chores around the house instead of being couch potatoes. Much of what’s involved in getting kids to play is simple. It’s simply a matter of awareness.
Lesson Plan: Food For Thought pdf format
Part 2 • NOTES: from the show
Pediatrician- teaches us how to calculate BMI. The AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics wants all parents to learn how to use this formula. We look at a child’s risk of being overweight based on his genes and his family’s lifestyle.
Psychologist-teaches us the importance of setting goals that are reachable and explains how to achieve those goals. She also tells us how to recognize the difference between hunger and cravings.
Dietitian- teaches us how to read food labels. She shows us how much sugar is in a 20 oz. soft drink as many Americans absorb most of their calories from beverages. She looks at other foods as well, like cereals and cooking oils to compare sugar and saturated fat.
Exercise physiologist-talks about slow, medium and fast past activities and where seriously overweight children should start and where they should end up.
Lesson Plan: Circle of Fun pdf format
Part 3 • NOTES: from the show
Pediatrian-looks at the growing health costs of obesity in hopes of prodding parents into action.
Psychologist-examines how events in our lives lead to certain behaviors. Of course, those behaviors result in certain consequences. She teaches us how to alter our behavior to make healthier choices.
Dietitian-has tips on eating out in restaurants and in fast food places. It can be done, but the whole day should be planned around it, cutting back in areas where we are likely to take in more sugar and fat at restaurants.
Exercise Physiologist-demonstrates exercises for seriously overweight kids.
Lesson Plan: Healthy Tag pdf format
Part 4 • NOTES: from the show
Pediatrician-examines how the layout of our buildings, communities and cities contribute to obesity. Dr. Claude Bouchard the Dir. of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center tells us how the invention of the wheel, the abundance of food at cheap prices, elevators, escalators, cars, parking lots under buildings all contribute to obesity. We have progressed so much we don’t use our muscles and it’s literally killing us. We must get back into the routine of doing some things that we can avoid because of progress.
Psychologist-tells us how to talk positively to ourselves, talking ourselves out of eating too much. She examines the importance of attention, attitude, accountability and availability from parents.
Dietitian-explains the importance of fruits and vegetables in our kids’ diets. Not only are they great for keeping our weight under control, they are also loaded with chemicals that help ward off diseases like cancer .
Exercise Physiologist- demonstrates different exercises to work on different body parts.
Lesson Plan: Exercise Egg Surprise pdf format
Part 5 • NOTES: from the show
Pediatrian-urges schools, communities and parents to create environments that will encourage children to move. He talks briefly about what we have in parks, schools and daycare centers compared to what we need. He also warns of the dangers of too much time playing computer games or watching t.v.
Psychologist-explains the dangers of skipping meals and how it often causes us to overeat, often with more fattening snacks. She also examines normal compared to disordered eating.
Dietitian- provides us with examples of healthy snacks. She explains the 5/15 rule. Look for foods with five or less grams of fat and around 15 grams of sugar.
Exercise Physiologist-demonstrates exercises to work on specific parts of the body.
Lesson Plan: Stretch For Wellness pdf format
Part 6 • NOTES: from the show
Pediatrician-profiles a young diabetic patient who is finally losing weight after decades of abuse. The young nurse explains why she would eat a big bag of chips or Oreos in on sitting. The doctor shows us CDC maps of how fast the obesity problem is growing, charts of what happens to an obese child who doesn’t get help including a long list of diseases they are much more likely to get.
Psychologist-compares the lifestyles of people who become obese compared to those of normal weight people.
Dietitian-tells us the importance of eating breakfast and gives us examples of healthy breakfast foods.
Exercise Physiologist- shows us what’s involved in cross-training so kids won’t get tired of exercise routines.
Lesson Plan: The Hunt For Healthy Food pdf format
“We have in the population of kids and adults probably five-percent of them, we don’t know exactly how many, but it is a small percentage who are obese because they have a clear genetic defect. One gene is totally incompetent, not capable of producing protein that it normally does. The absence of that protein changes metabolism, affecting the regulation of appetite, satiety, or energy expenditure. In the long term these children become obese, generally severely obese. That’s five-percent. It doesn’t explain the whole obesity epidemic.
Over and above that, we clearly see some family lines. These family lines are not determined by one gene, in our genetic language, we say they depend on multiple genes and multiple genes acting directly, but also interacting among themselves, one facilitating the effect of the other. And, these genes in turn interact with the environment. So it’s a very complex picture.
When we talk about predisposition to become obese; if the environment is obesigenic, it has the kind of conditions that favor the development of obesity. This genetic disposition may be strong, weak, very light. It depends on the amount of susceptibility genes that you carry. For example for those families where obesity is very prevalent and severe it is quite likely that you have many of these predisposing genes that are acting. And in families where most people are lean, it doesn’t mean they don’t have any of these genes, but they may have a few copies only.
There are people who believe that everybody in an environment like the United States where the obesogenic environment is the strongest that we’ve seen on earth, 100 percent of us will become obese one century from now, two centuries from now. Energy expenditure is reduced to a minimum and food is available in abundance. It’s good and it’s cheap, this favors us eating more than we expend. Our whole environment has been designed to decrease the amount of work that we do.
The war began with the advent of agriculture. We invented the wheel and it lasted for a millennium. We have won the war. We are not using our muscles, or barely, just a little bit. The problem is that we have diseases associated with this sedentary lifestyle and obesity is one of them. Our cities are built that way. Our buildings are designed to reduce the amount of physical work. So at the end of the day, there are always 300 to 400 calories that we have not expended and that plays a role in our biology. If we were able to recover them by walking here to go to the store, taking the steps in the building for a couple of floors, adding them up over a period of years, it makes a huge difference.”
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