I n my April 10 column we saw that 32 percent of today’s youths are overweight. Why? They follow modern society’s bad habits – eating large portions, choosing unhealthy foods and drinking calories. Plus, they are lacking what so many of us did as children . . . physical play! The result: consuming more calories than expended!
When you are growing (which is most of childhood), you are expending a high number of calories. But no matter how many calories are burned, if more calories are consumed than used, weight is gained. That is the simple math of weight management.
Sadly, many of today’s youths are already consuming more than they expend and experiencing the effects – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes, joint and bone pains.
Step 1: Learn about portions. Eat what is needed, not what is always wanted. Help accomplish this by reminding your child to eat slower, drink water with meals and start with smaller portions. Remember, your stomach is about the size of your fist. Your fist is larger than theirs!
Step 2: Expend more calories with physical activity. This is a necessity.
Let’s start with Step 1 right now. Eat proper portion sizes and daily intake. Below are a few simple portion size and daily intake guidelines. Try following these for a couple weeks. You may be amazed when you compare this information to your daily habits. Check out this simple system below.
Use this table to help you track your and your children’s intake. Have a conversation with your children about it. At the end of the week, compare with each other:
● How easy was it to get your portions in for the day in each group?
● How easy is it to eat the appropriate portion sizes?
You may be surprised at what you learn about what and how much they are having at school lunch. Is it healthy, or is it pizza and cookies and doughnuts?
> Want more information? Check out this column online at tucson citizen.com for links to useful Web sites on this very topic!
In the next column, we’ll look at comparing your food intake (calories) to your physical activities.
Whitney Moore is owner of Moore Training. She has master’s degrees in health and exercise science and food science and human nutrition. She trained Division I collegiate athletes at West Virginia University. During the past two years, Whitney has trained more than 600 Tucson children. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YEARLY CALORIE DIFFERENCE
> 10 extra calories daily = 1 pound of fat a year > 50 extra daily = 5 pounds a year
> 100 extra daily = 10 pounds a year > 200 extra daily = 21 pounds a year
For example, one 16-ounce soft drink (200 calories) each day could add 20 pounds over year.
Food types Serving equivalents
(suggested daily intake)
Protein (five to six servings) > 1 egg
> 1 ounce of meat = size of a matchbox
Take note: > 3 servings meat = size of a deck of cards
> 3 servings fish = size of a checkbook
> 2 servings = 1 ounce of nuts or seeds (24 almonds, 7 walnuts)
Dairy (3) > 1 cup milk > 1 1/2 cups ice cream
> 2 slices of hard cheese (6 dice-size pieces)
> 3 slices processed cheese > 8 ounces yogurt
Vegetables (2 to 3) > 1 cup raw/cooked vegetables = size of a baseball > 1 cup 100% vegetable juice
Fruit (1 1/2 to 2) > 1 cup freshly cut fruit or 100% fruit juice
> 1/2 cup dried fruit = 1 small handful
Grains (five to six) > 1 slice bread or tortilla > 1 cup ready-to-eat dry cereal
> 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or oatmeal
Information from: www.mypyramid.gov/ and www.cancer.org
Whitney Moore lists helpful sites accessible through mooretraining.us by clicking on the “related links” bar.