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Health Team

N.C. Hospital Aims to Get Families to Lose Weight

Posted November 12, 2007

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— The number of overweight children is a growing problem across the country, but one North Carolina community is taking steps to help children and their families embrace a healthier lifestyle.

The number of overweight people has doubled – and even tripled – for some age groups over the past 30 years, according to the Institute of Medicine, which advises policymakers and health-care professions in the private and public sectors.

Between 30 and 50 percent of children in Forsyth County are overweight or obese, according to doctors at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

"When we talk about overweight or obese, that's when their weight is at a point that's starting to affect their health. And that's also putting them at risk of being obese when they're adult," Dr. Joseph Skelton, with WFUBMC's Brenner Children's Hospital, said.

Skelton teamed up with a dietitian and case manager to start up the Families in Training (FIT) program at Brenner's. FIT aims to get whole families involved in losing weight, he said.

"We have really good research that shows that if you can get a family to commit to making changes, you can essentially cure obesity in a high number of children," Skelton said.

The teams works to change the eating and exercise habits of families whose weight is affecting their health. One focus is getting families to cut back on fast food and eat more nutritious meals at home.

"Really, the best thing is modeling," Stacy Kolbash, a registered dietitian, said. "If parents are eating that food, kids will be much more likely to choose that food."

In addition to promoting exercise, FIT pushes children and parents to follow six basic principles:

  • FIVE: Eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • FOUR: Eating four meals together as a family a week.
  • THREE: Eating three meals a day.
  • TWO: Spending less than two hours a day watching a screen – whether playing computer game or watching television.
  • ONE: Doing at least one hour of physical activity every day.
  • ZERO: Drinking no sugar-sweetened drinks.
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  • mramorak Nov 14, 2007

    Purpler i agree.great post!

  • dorseys Nov 14, 2007

    What the heck, anything goes now days. Just wait till the younger folks get alil older and learn there is no such thing as forever young, forever healthy, and forever skinny.

  • purplerado Nov 13, 2007

    This sounds like a great program and I hope it helps a lot of people. I had difficulty losing weight just from exercise and dieting, however, and it was discouraging. It was not until I learned about the role of toxins in obesity (our bodies actually form fat cells to seal off the toxins as a defense!) and learned about the importance of cleaning out your system and taking nutritional supplements, that the weight went away and didn't return. The majority of food available simply doesn't contain sufficient minerals and other nutrients, thus people are left wanting more. Worse, so many commercial foods contain MSG, often disguised as "maltodextrin", "hydrolyzed vegetable protein", "natural flavoring", etc., which increases hunger and causes weight gain. They actually give that stuff to lab animals to fatten them so they can study the effects of obesity! So, doctors and nutritionists need to incorporate this knowledge to help people make effective changes and lose weight for good.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 13, 2007

    On a positive note; the cost of heating your place this winter is going up so you will have less to spend on cramming food down your gullet.