Appetite Drives Obesity in Children

Thursday, July 17, 2008
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

A new study closely tracks the relationship of appetite to the development of obesity in children1, hoping to shed light on why some kids don’t get fat and others do.  The researchers found that as a child’s waistline gets larger, the full signal is blunted or delayed and the desire for food intake increases.  This adverse change of appetite occurs even before a child becomes obese – and is a clear warning sign that a child is headed in the wrong direction.

As I have discussed previously, a flat stomach is best.  At the point your child’s waist is ½ your child’s height, then arteries are plaquing and cardiovascular disease risk factors2 are beginning to cluster.  The longer a child stays in this condition the greater the damage to health.  Even before a child’s waist reaches this “alarm bell” stage, appetite-related warning flags are being raised that indicate your child is being drawn in this direction.

Parents beware - the medical profession is now going to use this type of information to prescribe statin drugs to children as low as age 8, which is ludicrous BUT WILL BE HAPPENING.

It is not good parenting to allow your young children to eat anything they want any time they want.  And it is not good parenting to allow a diet of packaged food and fast foods.  Parenting has nutritional responsibilities that profoundly affect your child’s health for the rest of their life.  I see far too often this “easy going” and “permissive” parenting approach to sugar and junk food – often using sweet treats as a reward.

Let me be politically incorrect and blunt – it is a scientific fact that the dumbest parents raise the fattest children. 

How big a problem does your child have?  If he or she is developing a little tummy bulge then cut out all the refined sugar, fruit juice, and soda (including artificially sweetened), and refined flour products (pastries, white bread, etc).  If your home now feels like you are running an alcohol rehab facility then your child was absolutely headed for obesity (or is already there). 

Get more bitter vegetables into your child’s diet.  It’s not that your child has to love them; it’s that they need to train their taste system to be more tolerant of them, at which point they quit craving sweets so much.

If you are guilty of serving up packaged food or eating out at fast food restaurants then change your ways.  Prepare meals and teach your children to cook.  Learn to use spices and flavors in a way that teaches your children to appreciate the flavor of good food – getting away from the American addiction to the tastes of excess fat, sugar, salt, and brand-flavor chemical brain stimulants.

Doing so may seem inconvenient to your schedule, but taking the time to do so is likely to add years to your life and at least 20 quality years to your child’s.  Statin drugs cannot possibly replace good parenting.

There are many dietary supplement options, that can be used as needed, to help get your child’s appetite back under control.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Appetite Problems Signal Future Obesity in Children  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  Susan Carnell and Jane Wardle
  2. ^ Waist to Height Ratio and Obesity-Related Risk  International Journal of Obesity  S P Garnett, L A Baur, and C T Cowell

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