Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Son Is Lazy and Morbidly Obese

“Mark, I have a problem with my 15-year-old son -- he's lazy! He comes home from school, flops out in the easy chair, eats a bunch of junk, and watches TV or plays his video games for pretty much the rest of the evening. My concern is that he has no social life really -- plus he is now grossly over-weight. Any suggestions? Thanks.”

Approximately 30% of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight and 15% are obese. For adolescents ages 12 to 19, 30% are overweight and 15% are obese.

Excess weight in childhood and adolescence has been found to predict overweight in adults. Overweight children with at least one overweight or obese parent were reported to have a 79% likelihood of overweight persisting into adulthood.

In addition to genetics, other factors contributing to obesity are:
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Sedentary behavior (e.g., watching TV, sitting at the computer, playing video games)
  • Low family incomes and non-working parents
  • Consuming high-calorie foods
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Eating while watching TV or doing homework

First of all, let your son know he is loved and appreciated whatever his weight. Focus on his health and positive qualities.

Next, develop and implement a plan to gradually change your family's physical activity and eating habits. Let your son see you eating and enjoying healthy foods and physical activity. Plan family activities that provide everyone with exercise and enjoyment (e.g., swimming, biking, skating, ball sports). Reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in sedentary activities (e.g., watching TV, video games). Reduce the amount of “junk food” you will allow in the house, instead plan for healthy snacks. Encourage your son to eat when hungry and to eat slowly. Eat meals together as a family as often as possible.

In addition, assign active chores to every family member such as vacuuming, washing the car or mowing the lawn. Enroll your son in a structured activity that he enjoys (e.g., tennis, gymnastics, martial arts). Encourage him to join a sports team at school or in your community.

Other points to keep in mind are:
  • Don't place your son on a restrictive diet
  • Avoid the use of food as a reward
  • Avoid withholding food as punishment
  • Encourage him drink water rather than beverages with added sugars (e.g., soft drinks, fruit juice drinks, and sports drinks)
  • Stock the refrigerator with fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Plan times when you prepare foods together
  • Eat meals together at the dinner table at regular times
  • Avoid rushing to finish meals
  • Avoid serving large portions
  • Avoid forcing him to eat if he is not hungry
  • Limit fast-food eating to no more than once per week

This should at least get you started with some behavioral modification strategies as they relate to diet and exercise.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents


Anonymous said...

It's clearly the parents fault. I mean, take the "boy" (though, hog would be more adequate) in the picture. He didn't get THAT fat overnight. He didn't magically gain all those pounds of lard after just a couple of chips and videogames.
To get THAT grossly obese, the child had to have access to food and lack of parental control. Any concerned parent would have noticed their son as soon as they got chubby, and not when he is just so morbidly obese as the "boy" in the picture.

ManicMonkey4 said...

I agree. Although genetics have a lot to do with weight! My son is an obese 15yr old and I take full responsibility! He has high functioning autism. Over the past 3 years he has gained weight significantly and become difficult with his behavioral issues. He is now 307 5 8. I struggle to parent him differently than his older 3 sisters who are athletes and social butterflies. I am now making him go to the gym with me and walk to and from school. I’m trying new parenting techniques and preparing to be hated even more! I have read where diet effects autism, this is very interesting considering what this article poses about diet and “addiction” in a sense. I will be researching this and talking to my sons Dr. Thanks for the article

Unknown said...

I agree. Also sedimentary lifestyles are the biggest factor. I'm a step mom and I cook healthy food but I can't stop his father from giving him adult serving sizes. My step son is 12 yes old 5'2" and just under 200 lbs. I am a good example. But I can't get this kid to drink water unless you nag him like an untrained puppy. His desire too move no matter how positive is slim to none. His chore actions clearly show no desire to remember or properly follow through with directions. As a step parent,.my input is only respected and listened to so much. I'm portrayed as the bitch because I care so deeply it kills me to see him and his father eat themselves into an obese level. I'm at my whits end and ready to move on with life knowing I tried my best and they have to be responsible for themselves care in their own health . Any advice or agree to disagree and move on!? Haha

Anonymous said...

Wicked step mom!

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