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5 Ways You Can Keep Your Kids From Getting Fat

Weight problems plagued my family as I was growing up. My siblings and my mother all struggled with being "heavy" or outright obese. From the sixth grade to the eighth grade I was one of the few "chubby" boys in my class. I had a pot belly that hung over my belt. I was about 25-30 pounds overweight, and unfortunately I heard all the hurtful names. Everyone in my family ate too much. None of us exercised. And the food we ate was not good for us (growing up in the South everything was fried or cooked in bacon grease or chicken fat).

Then one day I noticed something that changed my life: girls. I wondered if they would notice me. Well, I couldn't change my height (I'm still short). And I knew it would take years before my acne would clear up. But I could do something about my weight. (It never occurred to me that my weight could later cause Type 2 Diabetes, or heart disease, or high blood pressure, or any number of illnesses that we are NOW seeing in overweight children! I just wanted girls to notice me, that's all!)

I had no books or videos to teach me anything. I just figured that anything that was greasy or starchy or filled with sugar was probably not what the good Lord intended for me to eat. So, for a whole year I gave up potato chips, candy bars, bacon, sausage, bologna, hot dogs, and even hamburgers. I lived on salads, bread, eggs, and lean meat.

That diet, coupled with my karate training, burned away the fat! Well, at the age of 13 and 14 it worked! Took me a year, but by the time I entered the ninth grade (and a new school where nobody knew me) I had lost all the weight!! Girls still did not notice me, but that was OK. I felt great about myself.

Back then, I was only one of a few who were overweight. Today, however, the CDC tells us that obesity is the fastest-growing health concern in America. The number of overweight or obese children has tripled from 1971 to 2011. According to some reports I have read, it is estimated that almost one-third of American children are overweight or obese. That would be 25 million kids. Here are two articles that give more details on the problem.

You and I know it is a problem. When you go grocery shopping, try to find kids who are NOT overweight. Maybe it's just where I live, but wherever I go, I see more and more children who can barely walk straight because of the heavy weight they are carrying. It is a tragedy. And it does not have to be. So what can parents do?