Curbing Appetites in Children
My attention was caught by a newspaper headline which
read, "Appetite-curbing hormone found to cut calorie intake
30%." The research which triggered this headline was published
in the New England Journal of Medicine, Sept. 4, 2003. London researchers
injected volunteers with a hormone called YY3-36, or PYY for short
and it seemed to work. Recipients ate less for the next 24 hours.
Now we may have, potentially at least, another tool to battle the
epidemic of obesity. However, there are far more questions than
answers related to this new "kid on the block." And, more and more
hunger-squashing products are on the horizon.
In my opinion, the answer does not lie in pills. Genetics cannot
be changed. One can try a diet. There are many diets currently
to choose from, each claiming to have the correct recipe for
success. Or, one can focus more on exercise. Surgery to change
tract’s anatomy is a last, ultimate and desperate choice, and
this has almost no place in managing young obese children.
I am privileged to have trained at Baylor College of Medicine
in Houston at their Weigh of Life Program. It was there that
a valuable lesson: the long-term answer for weight issues lies
in lifestyle changes.
Here are a few key thoughts regarding those changes:
- Make daily activity for 30 minutes your goal, all year round.
It should be convenient, consistent, and comfortable.
- The child should moderately exert themselves, and should get
their heart rate and breathing rate significantly increased
during the activity.
- Do the activities with the child; have a fixed time to do it.
- Reduce the amount of C-foods: cookies, coke, candy, cheese, crackers
- Eat only in one place and eat slowly. Increase the amount
of protein, and have protein with every meal.
- Take the TV out of the bedroom.
- Journal all your child’s physical activities and nutritional
There are many more points to cover, but the
key message here is to avoid disappointment — the
answer will never come from a pill or an injection
that makes you eat less! Exercise is one of
the key tools when it comes to winning the
war. So, dust off those
running shoes, get sweaty and do it today.
wait to start next week or next month. The
best time is now.
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