Childhood Obesity: Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy Weight

As parents, how do you know if your child is maintaining a healthy weight? How do you strike the balance eating foods that are nutritious versus foods that are convenient? And how much does exercise play a role?

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Childhood Obesity: Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy Weight


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

Lindsay Stenovec: Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of our health. With September being Childhood Obesity Awareness month the popular question is how do we know what weight is healthy for our children? How can parents know if their child is healthy? Is there a type of feeding strategy that helps children maintain a healthy weight that is right for them? How much does exercise play a role? Today we will answer all of these questions and more. I am Lindsay Stenovec, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family Nutrition Specialist and this is Parent Savers’ episode 72.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Johner Riehl: Welcome back, everybody, once again to another episode of Parent Savers, Broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Parent Savers is your weekly online the on-the-go support group for parents with new borns, infants and toddlers. I am your host Johner Riehl and thanks again to all our loyal listeners, who listen to us every week and submit great questions and comments via our facebook and twitter feeds in our social media channels. Our Parent Savers Club members get special bonus content after each new show plus special give aways and discounts and for those of you who may not know, we have also recently unlocked all of our archives and now everyone, members and nonmembers alike, get access to every single Parent Savers episode ever released as well as every Preggie Pals and Boob Group episode as well. So make sure to reach back in the archive and find the topic that’s interesting to you and give us a listen. You can also subscribe to our monthly Parent Savers news letter for a chance to win a membership to our club each month and another way for you to stay connected, and you really should do this if you are a regular listener, is by downloading our free Parent Savers App which is available in the Android and iTunes market place, that way you get the shows automatically when they are released usually on Wednesdays. I am joined in the studio today by a few parents as well as our expert and of course the lovely producer Erin. “Hello!” So let’s go around so we know who is having the conversation, so we know who is in the room.

Colin Reed: My name is Colin Reed, I am 27 years-old. I work in airline catering and I have one son named Constantin.

Johner Riehl:Nice and Constantin is 3…?

Colin Reed: 3 months.

Johner Riehl: 3 months!

Colin Reed: He is a little baby.

Johner Riehl: I thought you said 3 before, oh, man.

Erin Esteves: So you lied! I didn’t realize its 3 months, no wonder you are drinking that caffeinated over there.

Johner Riehl: Nice, Nicole?

Nicole Deline: Hi, my name Nicole Deline and I do art design and architecture and I have a 3 year-old boy, Gavin.

Johner Riehl: Nice.

Erin Esteves: Oh, hey, yeah, I am Erin Esteves, the producer, OG Mammacita, I have one little boy, 23 months and growing fast.

Johner Riehl: And Erin is manning our social media account. So use the #parentsaversVP on twitter or make sure to follow us on our facebook page where we ask questions leading up to the show so you can participate and may be your question read during our taping. And I am host Johner Riehl, I have 3 boys, a 6year-old, a 4 year-old and a 2year-old. So I think that brings the total to a 0 year-old, two 2 year-olds, 3 year-old, a 4 year-old and a 6 year-old and they are all boys in this room for the panelists today. So hopefully some of our virtual panelists who give us the girl perspectives as well and Lindsay is our expert.

Lindsay Stenovec: Hi, I am Lindsay. I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in San Diego. I own a practice where I work with families with child feeding challenges and I also consult for Head Start agency in the area. I am very happy to be here.

Johner Riehl: Nice, well thanks for joining us.

[Theme Music]

Johner Riehl: Before we start today’s show, we are going to do a news headline segment and this is where we look at stories that were recently in the news that would be of interest to parents. Today we have got one called, “Which is Worse: Where This Boy Peed or the Reaction That He’s Getting”. So there is this picture and we have it on our website, but it’s basically of this, might be a grandma, might be a mom, in a mall holding her son up on a trash can in the middle of the mall and he is peeing right in the trash can with his pants down. He is probably about 2 years-old and he was snapped by someone with an iPhone camera and this is from baby center. Let’s be honest, potty training can be a nightmare. It’s that in between place where you’ve committed to the diaper but your child hasn’t quite mastered the art of “holding it” for more than five seconds. I can’t even tell you how many times I have raced at the mall in a full-on sprint with a 3 year-old who just said, “I have to go pee in my arms”. But one mom in British Columbia slipped the mad dash and instead just held the toddler above the garbage can in the middle of the mall pulling down his pants and letting him aim right into the trash. Somebody snapped the picture and then it was actually met with some outrage on groups like reddit, like “what’s the heck is going on with this kid?” What is you guys’ reaction to seeing this kid peeing in the trash can?

Erin Esteves: Well, I don’t know about you guys but I have traveled throughout Europe and Mexico and I think it’s a cultural thing, because you would be surprised at the positions and the locations that I have seen parents allow their children to relieve themselves. So, as far as I am concerned she aimed for the trash can…

Nicole Deline: Good job!

Erin Esteves: No one is going to slipping it, it’s all good.

Johner Riehl: Right!

Nicole Deline: I think there is no problem with that at all. Anybody is making a problem is the problem.

Johner Riehl: Well, right, I think that maybe a lot of people that might have an issue with it haven’t necessarily been through potty training. But I mean, is that fair too, like, so we are all on this side of it saying, “oh, yeah, like, I know, like, my kids have gone peeing some crazy places but is that, why it is because we have dealt with it that other people don’t, people don’t necessarily want to see you look at going peeing in a trash can.

Erin Esteves: Yeah, you know what, I don’t want to see your pants that low either you know what I mean? So there!

Johner Riehl: No, oh, yeah. So, to the point! No I mean, I agree in obviously if there was time to get to the toilet, I think that that would have been the preferable avenue, but clearly there wasn’t and I don’t think that this woman is going out of her way to find the trash cans for her kids for peeing.

Nicole Deline: Right, it was a better option than in his pants and on his shirts.

Johner Riehl: And it’s better than the fountain! And all is well.

Erin Esteves: I am afraid that that occurred to you?

Johner Riehl: Well, I mean to be honest; I think they should try some bush options in the mall.

Nicole Deline: Let’s plant a rubber tree.

Johner Riehl: Sorry about that! Anyway check out for this picture on our website. We will make sure to post this to facebook as well and let us know what you think.

[Theme Music]

Johner Riehl: Today’s topic on Parent Savers’ is how to help your child to maintain a healthy weight. We are talking about this topic as part of childhood obesity awareness month which is September and so it’s the middle of September now as this episode comes out. Today we are talking to Lindsay Stenovec, a Registered Dietitian, who is also the owner of . She is going to us some tips and insight about helping our kid, keep our kids fit and healthy. So thanks for joining us Lindsay.

Lindsay Stenovec: Thanks for having me.

Johner Riehl: So what is the current prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States?

Lindsay Stenovec: Well I think we all at this point have heard a lot about childhood obesity. In the media it’s a very hot topic we are hearing about it on the news, we are hearing about it online and there are a lot of questions that come with that and it is true that we have seen an increase on in the number of children who are overweight and obese and more specifically we see in the age group of 6 to 11 year-olds, we have seen an increase from 1980s from about 7% to about 18% and with at a lessened from about 7% to about 18%. So there is definitely a change that we are seeing and that comes with a lot of questions about why is this, what are the causes and what do we need to be considering as adults, you know, with this change.

Johner Riehl: What does it mean to be obese? What is the measurement there?

Lindsay Stenovec: That’s a really good question. So right now, it’s very common to you something called the body mass index to evaluate someone’s size. And when that was originally developed, it was developed to look at large portions of a population. So with this statistic I just gave you, they are looking at large amounts of people and they are assessing kind of percentages and looking at overall body type trends.
For children, we look at it based on their growth charts and we are going to, maybe I can talk about that a little bit more in a minute. For children, the 95 percentile and above they are considered in the obese category. Now with that said, when we are working with just individual children, as medical professionals and with our children as parents, we want to look at the child as a whole person and not just one piece of information that tells us one piece about possibly their health and we want to consider them as a whole person and look at their health as a more from the whole perspective.

Johner Riehl: But a lot of times the obese label is put on because an average of a large population is here. The child is at this point on the graph and so they are deemed obese.

Lindsay Stenovec: Exactly! It’s a way to look at again, body type. It doesn’t give us necessarily a ton of information or really any more information on that.

Johner Riehl: So, I mean, there are other things that could factor into the child being overweight, right, I mean, their height or just the overall, the way their bodies build, right?

Lindsay Stenovec: Right! So height and weight are used in the Body Mass Index equation or BMI. And lots of factors go into why we have the body types that we do. Genetics do play a very large role and predetermine how we are going to grow and carry our weight and things like that. Other factors that a lot of researchers look into are things like environment, family dynamics, feeding dynamics, nutrition, exercise, if the child, this is sometimes surprising for people to hear, but if the child is dieted, and things like that.

Johner Riehl: Oh, got it! Well how can then we as parents start to figure out what our child’s healthy weight is? The chart is one piece of the puzzle right?

Lindsay Stenovec: Absolutely! So first and foremost, you want to talk with your doctor about that. So if you have concerns, or you have questions, your doctor is a great resource in the starting place. Usually doctors are talking about growth charts with parents in the very beginning and what we really want to look for is consistency of growth. So really it matters more that if we see a child continuing on a consistent growth trend, staying at a similar percentile and not bouncing around constantly. Those are also good questions for your doctor of what they think based on the growth chart, of how things are going, and then further more using where they are on the growth chart to also given them a little bit of information too.

Johner Riehl: When we say it’s some “epidemic”, it’s interesting hearing the statistics at the beginning. Because one way to look at it is the, one in five kids, I guess that’s a lot to say that one in five kids are obese, but also means that 4 in 5 kids are not. You know, flipping the statistics, but I guess it’s the growth that people are looking at. Do you have any theories as to what’s going on, as to why, over the past, how many years the obesity is increasing?

Lindsay Stenovec: That’s such a popular question! It’s so multi-factorial, it’s not one thing. So keeping that in mind sometimes people will come out as saying, its nutrition and that is the issue and what they are eating is an issue, or its exercise that is the issue, feeding dynamics that are the issue? But it really can be multi-factorial; it depends on a little bit of about where the child lives, what the family life is like, what the feeding is like, what foods are available for them, how much opportunity they have to move just like an average kid would want to move.

Nicole Deline: I guess just thinking about it, just the fact that it’s such a more fast paced life for everyone now than it was even when we were kids. It’s just what is easier and people don’t know about nutrition, getting fast food, I mean I have been in a number of households because of work, seeing parents just giving their kids fast food, McDonalds for their meal! And I mean, that’s bewildering to me. But in not so regular basis, I mean I figure that in the fast paced life, this is easy, I mean, that must be contributing and a lack of exercise, kids staying in the house.

Johner Riehl: Yes! Certainly convenience is absolutely a factor and we take our kids to McDonalds and sorry too…

Nicole Deline: No I don’t mean to be critical.

Johner Riehl: No, no that’s okay! It’s fine because I am sorry to call them out specifically. But it was like, I think it was last weekend, Christina had to work. So I had all three boys, we have three boys, 6, 4 and 2; and we had had a pretty busy morning and we did a 5k actually and then Christina had to go do something. So I took the boys to McDonalds, because there is a great one here, it has got a great play place and they love it. They go bananas for it. But it was funny because we invited a friend to come and I ended up chatting up like another dad that was there and everyone is like, yeah, I know, I can’t believe that we are out this place and we have the…everyone has the guilt about going there. But we are all drawn to there…but a lot of parents are drawn to there for the convenience factor and they do just like a great playground. The kids play for like an hour and a half and loved it.

Lindsay Stenovec: Well we did grow up on in and I mean I know the menu of course. I had it too. It’s just like we know more now and I think it doesn’t hurt if it’s a little bit. But if this is all they are getting, you wake up and give this for breakfast and that’s what they are going to spend the day on.

Nicole Deline: Well also I think, you know, we have this kind of idealized remembrance of our childhood and well there may not have been fast food, the way we see it today on our tables. There were other fast food options that were very frequent as well, seeing a hungry man and or how many TV dinners did you not eat as a kid, you know what I mean. So I think that there is just a different ….

Colin Reed: Spam words some spam…

Nicole Deline: Yeah, spam. Woo baby! Salt on a stick!

Johner Riehl: I know, no but I mean it’s the reality.

Colin Reed: When you use the word convenience and you justify it with a play place that I mean, you used the word epidemic earlier, right? An epidemic to me is not something that is placed so much on responsibility and choice in a parent. You use rationalization as to why you go to McDonald, to maybe you do a once a month or once every two months. There are parents who do a three times a day, I am sure. So I don’t understand, I guess in my mind I don’t see how we can call something like that an epidemic and when it is predicated so heavily on the choice of a parent who rationalizes it using words like convenience.

Lindsay Stenovec: Well, I think it’s important to remember that parents are under a lot of stress. There are a lot of expectations for parents, a lot of expectations when it comes to raising kids, I think at least that’s what I experience when I work with families and taking a child to McDonalds doesn’t automatically mean that you are doing something horrible as a parent. It’s not that simple when it comes when we are talking about maintaining a healthy weight. I mean, going to McDonalds doesn’t automatically mean a child is going to struggle with their weight or that it’s going to have an adverse effect on their weight. It doesn’t always come down to what they are eating. It comes down to eating as a family and being together and having a positive experience around food that can demonstrate balance and decrease shame around the food and also we want decrease that guilt that parents feel when once in a while, maybe, that’s what’s going to work for their family. That’s different than the family that is turning to fast food multiple times a week. Yeah, that a problem from a nutritional stand point but even more so as a medical professional, I am looking at that and saying, “oh, wow, you must be really having a hard time just with feeding in general” with maybe there is a financial issue going on, maybe there is a confidence issue with cooking in the kitchen and feeling confident with making meals for your family. Like let’s look at kind of what’s causing that feeling that you need to turn to outside sources for food on a regular consistent basis versus feeling confident and comfortable making food at home. There might be things that we work on, as a dietitian and I might even refer them out to other professionals.

Nicole Deline: I think that leads to my thought on that. A lot of the issues can be solved with planning. And a lot of parents don’t know how to plan this stuff out; I mean, a lot of parents we have fed ourselves pretty poorly! Since college or on our own, so I think in finding resources is really important and being able to reach out to somebody like you to look at how are we creating this food structure in our household.

Lindsay Stenovec: Yes and I am so glad that you brought up the word “structure”. That is huge for kids and I am sure as parents you all know in other areas, especially but with feeding structure is so important. Kids need to know that they are going to get regular meal and snacks at somewhat regular times on a daily basis. With food insecure situations, for example, when kids aren’t getting that consistent meal offered or maybe they are running to fast food at random times, like, we are going to get food at some point honey but I don’t know when. We start to see some eating issues going on for that child the second they get, in front of that food, whatever type of food it is, they feel an urgency sometimes to eat to a point of feeling very, very full, because we all do that, if we didn’t know for sure when we are going be able to have our food next, we were relying on someone else to offer that food. We might take matters into our own hands and we can’t avoid feeling overly hungry and that can happen in lots of family dynamic situations.

Johner Riehl: I think this is a good point to take a quick break. We will get into a little more, let’s keep talking about these specifics. Because I think this is what the crux of the issue is like. Alright! We know that we want to keep our kids healthy so what are the ways that help us make more positive choices and go to the play place less potentially. So we will talk about feeding and also exercise and some of the other good and bad foods after a quick break.

[Theme Music]

Johner Riehl: Welcome back everybody. Today we are talking about helping your child maintain a healthy weight with Lindsay Stenovec, a registered Dietitian. Registered? Is that right?

Lindsay Stenovec: Yup.

Johner Riehl: So let’s talk about more about feeding. We were just talking right before the break about “structure”. So Lindsay, what is like a good structure for kids? What would be a good routine? How do we build snacks into that routine and what will be things for meals.

Lindsay Stenovec: Great question! Well I think it will make sense to start with something called “The Division of Responsibility”. This was something that’s kind of originally developed by a woman named Ellyn Satter, a therapist and a dietitian and we have since researched the topic and there are books up there about it. Parents are responsible for what they are feeding their children, when they are feeding their children and where they are feeding their children. Then children get the responsibility of how much they are going to eat and whether or not they are going to eat. That can feel very scary for parents sometimes because they might think what do you mean? My toddler gets to determine how much he/she is going to eat?
What if she just eats to no end that can sometimes be the first question that I get when we started talking about that? In terms of structure and the way that structure is very important for the division of responsibility so feeding every few hours or so, as a parent you are the expert in your child, so you want to keep that in mind too. The idea of that is to allow children to get to a meal or snack mildly hungry not starving and also not full and so with that we also kind of discourage to the best of your ability as a parent to not have the child graze constantly in between, because it can disrupt their appetite and ….

Johner Riehl: But if they are given a choice they would do that? I feel like at least that one of our kids will do that.

Lindsay Stenovec: I do hear that from parents quite a bit and as long as they are coming to meal times getting the choice of how much, then whether or not they are going to eat, eventually, we want children to be able to use their hunger and fullness cues. We are all blind with the inability to self regulate our eating and that’s very clear I think for parents when their children are infants. But I think it becomes less comfortable for them to a kind of trust the child as the child grows because there is so much pressure. There is constant talk about the child obesity epidemic? And so parents very naturally think, “oh that must be that I need to control how much my child is eating, that must mean I need to monitor very closely. What we see is when parents do that, it can actually lead to an increasingly for that child. They start to feel very disconnected from their hunger and fullness cues. So that’s a very important piece.

Johner Riehl: It’s interesting because sometimes I feel like the struggle isn’t there. I worried that my kids are going to eat too much. Is it they are not eating enough? I don’t understand how they are getting enough energy to do all the other crazy stuff they do. When they are doing like, three bites of their food.

Lindsay Stenovec: Very good question! Actually there is a study in 2007 that you are not alone, because it looked at parent feeding strategies and about 85% of parents still require their kids to finish everything on their plate, kind of, in the clean the plate club and actually Marian Jacobsen wrote a great article on this in the New York Times. I know she was an expert you had on previously. So you are not alone. Again what we do see when children are told this is how much you get and you need to eat a 100% of that, they begin to get the message that what their body is telling them is less important than what someone else is telling them and they adore their parents; they love their parents, of course! They are not going to question that idea, right? It’s coming from the best of intentions from their parents as well. We don’t want to create more shame for our parent around the process of feeding. But again we do see is the decrease in that familiarity with hunger and fullness which can throw off a child’s natural weight.

Johner Riehl: One of the interesting things that I thought was that coming on Marian’s article and we had her in, and actually had her in Good Morning America. But, the actually kind of characterizes her ideas as outlandish and in a way they weren’t really that fair to her.

Lindsay Stenovec: Not at all!

Johner Riehl: I think it’s really interesting that there is public backlash against this notion.

Lindsay Stenovec: They misunderstood what she was discussing quite a bit. It was pretty frustrating, for professionals in the field and for her I think to watch that.

Johner Riehl: Right!

Lindsay Stenovec: Because they took it as, she was saying let your children eat whatever they want, how much they want, basically whenever they want and that’s definitely not what she is saying. She is using division of responsibility, they use that in the fearless feeding as well, where again as parents you have the responsibility of choosing what you may ask a child. Do you want “X” or “Y”? But ultimately, it is your decision as to what you are feeding them and again that timing piece, the “when” piece is also your responsibility and a really important part of that responsibility is to provide the structure and consistency with the feeding environment and then also where. So yeah, once in a while it might be at McDonalds and it might be as a family, but, also choosing to eat at home as a family as well, when and when able.

Erin Esteves: You know Johner, my husband has the same issue that you do because he wants to keep feeding Cash and Cash will say, “done, done”, and he want to keep feeding him and this is my philosophy on it. I have very specific feeding times, you have breakfast, you have lunch, there is a snack and then there is dinner. There is nothing in between. If you choose, and yeah he is not even two, but if he chooses not to eat anymore of his lunch so be it. I don’t think that him knowing what hunger is, is necessarily a bad thing. If he shows signs of hunger then I just give him more water. You know, have a drink move around distract him, do something and then lunch is coming, or the snack is coming but you have to wait. I do that because in my household growing up, food was an entertainment, food was love, and obviously I am not going to starve to death quickly, I am famine proof. But I don’t want that to be an issue for my son. So as far as I am concerned hunger is good, he is going to eat that spinach because he is hungry.

Johner Riehl: Yeah, that I mean, that’s certainly interesting and I fine too and obviously we all, I think, we have control issues and we all have food issues like this to some extent, it’s how we were dealing with them. But our kids definitely eat better when they are hungry and they will eat, and I don’t know they would eat spinach, but they will eat. Yeah may be if you are somebody like that….

Erin Esteves: But Cash will, with rather spinach than chicken Mc Nuggets.

Johner Riehl: Nice! That’s nice!

Nicole Deline: Gavin too.

Erin Esteves: He actually turn those away.

Nicole Deline: Gavin won’t eat a Mc Nugget and I have offered it to him, I have actually taken him to McDonalds just to be fair. You can only get the French fries…

Johner Riehl: What do you do for healthy snacks? What are some of the things that Gavin likes?

Nicole Deline: So cucumbers with a little lemon and olive oil or even plain, avocadoes, snap peas, carrots, he likes those cooked a little bit more, add a mormay, banana chips. Like I try to get the healthiest things, I don’t completely tell him he is not allowed to have candy. I get dark chocolate, that’s my favorite. But no so I never make an issue when he does want a sweet, I never make it an issue. I give it to him.

Johner Riehl: Right!

Nicole Deline: But I just make it sure he is got a lot of other vegetables and healthy stuff because I don’t want to turn him into someone who is hiding candy in the closet. But one of the first decisions I made about his nutrition was, I was never going to force him to eat like the whole meal. I just wasn’t because I know, yeah, when you are full, you are full and I am glad that he is aware of when he is full and I sometimes I might be like oh, you want one more bite, because I feel like he is still hungry. Then he will also take one more or two more bites but, when he is done he is done. He definitely used to be much more of a grazer. I mean, he is so kind of, but what I started doing because I noticed he just didn’t eat his meal because I will do breakfast, lunch and dinner and he barely, he have two bites of his meal. Dinner especially just two bites, I will be, “no I want you to have a full rounded meal”. But so what I started doing is just cutting out the snacks when it gets closer to the meal but I definitely have snack available during the day and I feel like if its cucumbers and he is on peppers right now, he likes bell peppers, and hummus.

The other thing about that is he is a really good vegetable eater, but it could just be his taste buds, I ate a ton of different stuff when I was pregnant. But I feel like it’s what you make available to them when they are little, that’s what he knows. He does prefer fruit and healthy stuff over the nuggets and the candy because that’s what he was given I mean, for sweets its raspberries and blueberries and he feels like that’s a treat for him.
Sometimes when he is asking for pink yoghurt because he has got in it somewhere else like a really sugary fruit yoghurt. I will take some frozen fruit and mix it with the plain yoghurt or the vanilla yoghurt, just so to know it is a little lower in sugar and its actually fresh fruit and then he is happy that he has his pink yoghurt. So I don’t deny him things I mean, there are times when I will say, “Oh, how could you want to eat that! That is so gross” but just teasing him. That’s what my father used to do to me, and I guess but, I try and keep it balanced.

Johner Riehl: What about drinks? You know, I think, I mean, I think it is obvious red flag drinks that might be another thing that contributes to obesity. I remember going out to dinner with some friends and I think that he was like not even two years-old or three years-older that dad ordered a diet coke for him and even like you know, I can be pretty lax on like I said we go to McDonalds or whatever but we were like “WOW!” like that’s pretty young to be introducing like, that or a straight synthetic sugars. But aside from that we have one of your kid that loves drinking milk like, is that an “OKAY” thing, is there a limit or what are some good drinks or is it just push water on him constantly and does water have other benefits in keeping healthy too.

Lindsay Stenovec: Well, water is certainly an important beverage to have around and available to kids and adults throughout the day. There aren’t necessarily very specific recommendations for fluids for the day for a child but young children need at least about a liter per day. In terms, of some of the sugary drinks not having those around often is helpful for their nutrition and helpful for them regulating their hunger and fullness as well. When it comes to milk, offering that with meal times or as part of a snack is great. We see a lot of issues with milk as when the young kids are still walking around throughout the day drinking milk, kind of, in between meals and snacks and we are seeing issues with cavities when it comes with that or seeing issues with just consuming that on a regular basis and disrupting their appetite and it can also lead to iron issues for the child. So too much milk can affect iron issues because of the calcium.

Johner Riehl: I want your episode on milk, because I think that milk, that they have done a very good job of making people feel like you need to drink milk constantly, it’s an awesome thing but yeah, I mean, there is a lot of ….

Erin Esteves: Nicole shaking your hands.

Johner Riehl: Potential things going after…

Lindsay Stenovec: It can be a great nutritional source for children especially when they are learning to kind of, get familiar with different types of foods and they are progressing in terms of what foods and veggies taste good to them and what meat taste good to them and things like that. It’s a great acceptable and taste-wise source of great nutrients. But again anything in excess can end up being as issue so ……

Johner Riehl: Not even too much fruit, right?

Lindsay Stenovec: Sure!

Johner Riehl: Like you think “Oh fruit great thing”, but it’s possible to have too much fruit, right?

Lindsay Stenovec: Well, it’s possible to have too much of any food really, carrots, cake, fruit. It is possible and then remembering that division of responsibility, and doing that structural feeding pattern and low pressure feeding environment, like you were referencing, really allows children with whatever they are being offered to really regulate their intake. So if you have ever noticed a child take a bite of an apple and put it down and say I am done. Or take a bite of a birthday cake and say, “Oh, I think I am done, I am going to go play now”. They are very much more in tune with their bodies in kind of have they feel on what they need more or so than adults a lot at that time.

Johner Riehl: I want to cover off on exercise a bit too, so that we wrap up any other tips you might have or specific tips but also let’s talk a little about the role. I know, you are not, that’s not exactly your professional role but I think its part and part of little bit what you do.

Lindsay Stenovec: Absolutely! We talk about those.

Johner Riehl: So, what some guidelines for exercise, it may be creative ways to help kids to exercise as well. As well as maybe if you have any other tips on nutrition that just you want to add as we wrap up the conversation.

Lindsay Stenovec: Well children are designed to move and so are adults, as humans we are just like I said designed to move. The kind of mere recommendation out there is to help these kids an hour of play a day. I think probably the most important part of that is play. Some because adults are used to going to the gym for their movement, sometimes they will think, “maybe I should take my child to the gym if they haven’t taken up any sports or rather anything like that”. I guess for some children, to certain extend, it might be okay depending on their age but really we are always talking about fun and enjoyable movement. I mean, that goes for adults too and role modeling. So instead of saying, “Hey Suzy, you need to make sure you go out and play for an hour”, because that the only thing, they might not respond to that and might be doing it just to please or maybe saying “let’s go to the park, let’s play around, let’s take the ball out of the court” and doing something fun or giving them opportunities with friends to play and also when they are old enough, enrolling them in different sports because that can increase their self esteem and covenants in with moving their body.

Johner Riehl: Even just like a walk around the neighborhood saying “let’s go look for the colors of the rainbow around the neighborhood.

Lindsay Stenovec: Absolutely! I love that!

Johner Riehl: Just engaging them and getting in the move.

Nicole Deline: I think that for my son, when he does want to stay in the house and not go out, I mean, he usually is pretty active but recently he has gone addicted to the iPad and YouTube. It’s ridiculous! But and I am like, “Oh no”. He will say it to me, “No mamma, I want to stay in the house” and I am like, “No”. So what I really realize is I need to do it with them period! So just having the patience of putting my stuff aside and “Okay we are going” So basically I had to do with them and he is perfectly happy to do with them.

Johner Riehl: I mean it’s one of those things that once you get them out and in nature outside moving around they are totally happy. But if they have a choice between holding on to the iPad or hey, let’s go do anything else in the world, even though it is the awesomest thing ever and also they might be, they are so tied into what they are doing.

Nicole Deline: What they are doing at the moment.

Johner Riehl: Yeah, I mean, its mistraction and distraction a lot for toddlers and they are once they are in it, they are happier.

Nicole Deline: Right!

Erin Esteves: For me getting…. Cash is active it’s all very self-serving because the child sleeps so well. He will sleep for hours straight to the night which is what I need desperately so its, let’s go for a swim and we just get him exhausted. So it’s completely self-serving.

Nicole Deline: Right!

Erin Esteves: I admit it.

Colin Reed: The technology thing you bring up is interesting too because we never had those things when I was a kid. We didn’t have iPhones and iPad and what comes to mind is how culture interacts with the propensity for obesity. The reason that I bring that up is because my wife is from Eastern Europe, a former Soviet State, where often times what you ate then was based on what your family could produce. Where you went was based on how quickly you could walk there. So the culture that I live in, I mean how do my love handles is very much based on that idea. We go out to eat, we indulge. But her culture of thriftiness and that sort of thing has really just, permeate to the entire household and then I often wonder how, I mean in America we have these notions of obesity but how that interacts based on the culture of the house.

Lindsay Stenovec: Absolutely! Environments, culture, definitely play a role. Probably one thing you mentioned even though we are talking about maintaining a healthy weight really the more important thing is maintaining our health. We want to always bring it back to health and what kind of life style that is going to be most conducive to a healthy existence for our children and for us, because everybody comes in a different shape and size and we want to respect that too.

Johner Riehl: Alright! Any other points that we didn’t cover off on that you want to make sure to get across about helping kids maintain a healthy weight?

Lindsay Stenovec: Well, I think one thing I want to make sure that I mentioned is that for parents if you feel that you are struggling with your own relationship with food or just the importance of being aware of your own interaction with food is an important piece and there is a chapter on that “Fearless Feeding”. Ellyn Satter has a book that touches on that called “Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family”. There are blogs about that. But that’s an important piece because we know that, that does affect our feeding and similar to what you are talking about in terms of how you were raised affects your feeding which then can affect your child’s eating. Also help our children in general love their bodies, no matter what size they are, they are getting a lot of really serious messaging when it comes to different body types and it’s starting to create something called “weight stigma” or that’s really been around a long time. What we are seeing is that children who are larger when they get that message, they feel bad; they feel like they are trying to be eliminated, there is a war against people who like them. Basically that’s kind of how they are taking it. I mean, we want to make sure that we are just teaching our kids to love their bodies regardless of their size or anything else that may or may not make them different. Because they are going to take the best care of their bodies when they love their bodies and they feel good about themselves and they have high self esteem.

Johner Riehl: Alright well, thank you so much for joining us Lindsay and thanks everyone in the studio and thanks everyone for listening as well. For more information about “Helping Your Child Maintain a Healthy Weight” or any of our panelists or for Lindsay you can visit the episode page on our website. We have also got a link to there. This conversation is going to continue for members of our Parent Savers’ Club with our bonus content. After the show we are going to talk a little bit more about the height and weight ratios. We touched them a little bit, but little more about how they are developed and where they came from. For information about the Parent Savers Club visit our website www.Parent

Sunny Gault: Hey everyone this Sunny I am one of the producer on Parent Savers’ and today we have a special interview for you. Xza Higgins is joining me and she is the founder of MommyCon. Now if you haven’t heard of MommyCon you have to check this out. This is a in-person conference. It’s totally blowing up online. There are moms and dads going to this conference from all over the country. They have got lots of different locations and the focus of it is on “natural and organic parenting”. So Xza, tell us a bit more about MommyCon and why you started it.

Xza Higgins: Yeah, I started MommyCon as a day of education, inspiration and community building that we bring to cities across the United States. One of our upcoming events is going to be in Los Angeles, California on October 6th. We are actually looking to set the babywearing world record at the event with over 1500 parents and (unclear), all wearing their babies.

Sunny Gault: Okay, so you mentioned the LA event and this is a pretty big event for you guys, because it is one of the largest venues you guys have been out in the past?

Xza Higgins: It is! Yes! We are really hoping to set this record with 1500 + people on this center. Our last event Philadelphia had over 500 people out there and they just keep kind of getting bigger and better. We love sharing all the knowledge that we have learned as parents and bringing our experts to the event to then speak on everything from birth, breastfeeding, the babywearing, cloth diapering, car seat safety and everything in the stream. So it’s definitely going to be big in LA.

Sunny Gault: Yeah, well, we are excited for because I know that we are going to go out to that event as well and if our listeners want to participate, want to get involved with the LA event how can they do that?

Xza Higgins: Yes, they can find us on facebook. We are “mommyconusa” you need to type it in our browser and then our website is

Sunny Gault: The tickets are really reasonable, this isn’t something, as far as the place is concerned. It’s not that is something, it’s going to, you know, you got to choose the between diapers or going to the conference!

Xza Higgins: Oh, yeah and we even have a free option, so if parents just want to come out and attend the event on such a world record, it’s absolutely free. Otherwise we have general admission starting at $25.

Sunny Gault: That’s great! I know that all of our listeners are from Southern California so you do have these conferences in other cities, so how can people learn about those other opportunities?

Xza Higgins: Yeah, visit our website, type “mommycon” in the Google, visit our website at, go on find out our community of facebook, its over 18000 moms all coming together across the country and we are going to Fort Lauderdale in a couple of weeks, Philadelphia, LA, Kansas City, Chicago often, and everywhere between.

Sunny Gault: Love it! Love it! But if you are located in the Southern California area and you want to win two free tickets to the LA event you can do that. We are actually doing a raffle cup to give away with MommyCon. All you need to do is go to our show website. go under the episode section, go down to giveaways, and you can enter right there. So Xza thank you so much for being part of our show today.

Xza Higgins: Thank you!

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Johner Riehl: That wraps up our show today. We appreciate you listening to the Parent Savers’. Don’t forget to check out sister shows, Preggie Pals’ for Expecting Parents. Boob Group for Moms Who Breastfeed and Twin Talks for Parents of Twins or soon-to-be Parents of Twins. Next week we will be talking about “single parents and the realities of single parenthood”. It’s going to be an interesting conversation. Some of the folks from our panelists in the studio will be joining us as well, so please join us next week for that. This is Parent Savers’: Empowering New Parents!

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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