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Why One Mom Put Her Seven-Year-Old On A Diet


Aired 2/19/13

Over the past few years, there's been a spotlight on the growing number of overweight and obese children in America. Today, more parents are paying close attention to what their kids eat, and how often they exercise. While many parents might balk at the idea of putting a seven-year-old on a diet, that's what Dara-Lynn Weiss did. NPR's Michel Martin talks with Weiss about the ordeal, which she recalls in her new memoir, The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet.

"Before I had an obese child, I had very clear ideas about what caused childhood obesity and what would fix childhood obesity. And I very much blamed parents of obese children for not feeding their children properly, for not seeing to it that they had healthy habits or got enough exercise," Weiss says. But Weiss found that her family didn't fit that stereotype. She tried adjusting her daughter's meals and activity, but the weight didn't budge. Finally, during her daughter's check-up, the doctor suggested that it was time to do something.

Putting her daughter on a diet wasn't easy. At times 'Bea,' rebelled by eating pizza and cookies at school. Weiss found herself arguing with family, friends and other parents about nutrition. Once, she got into a verbal altercation with a Starbucks barista over the calorie count in a child's hot chocolate. Eventually, after a year, Bea dropped the weight.

Weiss acknowledges that her decision was controversial. But she says being "the Heavy" is part of good parenting. Making unpopular and complicated decisions is part of being "the tough one for the best interest of the child."

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Avatar for user 'healthreform'

healthreform | April 15, 2013 at 4:20 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

As a registered dietitian I can say that the public at large are not aware of the hidden ingredients which sabotage the diet. For example the proliferation of food chemicals have much more importance on weight gain than calories. Often people are checking calories but are unaware that excessive sugars are causing the body to hold fat Researchers in France showed that sugar is a stronger addiction than cocaine


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