Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Talking "Health" Rather Than "Weight"

Obesity has been making news this year - first when one of symptoms (binge eating) made it into the DSM-V, and most recently when obesity was recognized by the American Medical Association as a disease. With the increased awareness, some parents may feel that it is time to talk to their overweight or obese children about their weight.

First, it is important to mention that in a survey conducted in 2011, parents ranked talking to their child about their weight as more difficult than talking to their child about drugs, alcohol, and even sex! So don't think it is unusual to be a bit nervous about the topic - most parents are. Also know that you are not alone if you have an overweight or obese child - it is estimated that there are over 25 million children in the United States that currently fall into that category.

A recent study showed that if you want to work on your teen or child's weight loss, it is better to avoid talking about it as weight loss at all and actually better to focus on health instead. That can include talking about fitness, better eating choices, and overall healthy habits rather than just talking about weight-related topics (weight goals, clothing sizes). It also involves setting fun goals and motivating the healthy habits - if you try to focus too much on the negatives ("you need to lose weight" or "the doctor says you should be closer to this ideal") it can cause backlash, including unhealthy diet habits or even laxative use as a form of weight loss.

Here are some helpful tips for tackling the weight talk with your child:
1. The easiest way to approach it, especially if your child is younger, is simply to skip the talk and do something instead! Start modeling good behaviors for health, and look for ways to improve overall family health in a way that is fun  to the child.

2. If you have to talk, be a friend to your child and not an enemy. Don't play the blame game or focus on the negatives, but instead let them know that you'd like to start being healthier and you'd like them to join in.

3. Don't make critical remarks about your child's weight, or what they are eating. This can cause unnecessary stress which can impede weight loss.

4. Focus on the bigger picture of health, rather than specific weight milestones. Celebrate the small victories and make sure you let your child know when they are doing something right.

5. Don't force your child to completely eliminate certain foods. If you eliminate an entire set of foods, but they are offered those foods at a friend's house or at school, they won't know how to control the portion. Instead, allow for small treats and demonstrate what a good portion is and how it can be added to a meal routine.

6. Make exercise fun and spontaneous rather than a chore. If you schedule a walk for the same time every day, chances are the child will get bored (and you probably will too). While certain sports do have scheduled times, everything else can be a little less structured - going to play in the park instead of hitting the gym, or going to the pool in the summer.

7. Sleep is good. Make sure your child is getting the right amount, and not missing sleep or sleeping too much, both of which can hinder weight loss.

Do you have any suggestions on how you tackle weight loss and introducing a healthy lifestyle to your child(ren)?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Obesity is now an official disease - what this means for YOU

It was breaking news yesterday that was bittersweet - the American Medical Association officially declared obesity as a "disease" rather than just a health problem.

As we touched on in our last blog post, there are many side effects to obesity, and it can seem like an overwhelming proposition to move toward better health when you are coping not just with extra weight but also with the side effects that come with it.

With this new declaration, there is finally hope that the medical insurance community will finally see the benefit to both preventative programs and to weight loss programs and will provide funding for clients looking to take advantage of either in order to become more healthy. It also helps to encourage medical professionals to recognize that obesity is a complex disorder with multiple factors to consider rather that just a patient "being lazy" or "unwilling to try to become smaller and healthier."

While we are saddened that obesity has become such an epidemic, we are applauding AMA's decision to recognize obesity for what it really is - a disease with no fast and easy approach to treatment.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Obesity: More than "being fat"

We all know that obesity is rising in the United States - in fact, currently over 1/3 of American adults are obese. Children aren't immune - currently about 1/4 of children in the US are obese as well. It is predicted that if we continue on the same trajectory that by 2030 more than half of American adults will be obese. 

Our jobs don't help - several popular occupations show a higher rate of obesity. These include manufacturing jobs and transportation jobs (truck and bus drivers). Our society as a whole has become more sedentary, and that also contributes to our expanding waistlines.

Despite those statistics, obesity is still commonly thought of as just "being fat" without as much thought as to what other side effects there can be. Our society has responded to obesity by creating bigger chairs, larger toilet stalls, plus sizes reaching far into the double digits and/or x's, stronger vehicles, and even larger portions to help curb bigger appetites. 

What are the side effects to obesity? Some of them are well-known, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and inflamed joints. Others you might be aware of, like difficulty sleeping, gallstones, and depression. But there are others that might surprise you: increased cancer risk, fertility issues,  being bullied in the doctor's office, and even getting paid less. Sadly, these side effects impact both children and adults, with obese children being more likely to become obese adults

One final statistic that impacts people across the globe is a frightening organ donation shortage. Obese individuals often do not have healthy enough organs to qualify for organ donation. 

What can we do about this? At Square One, we believe the first step is working toward better overall health. This includes eating healthier options and finding ways to add in more physical activity. Every step in the right direction counts, and we personally know how hard it is to achieve permanent weight loss when you start at a large weight. As we quoted today on our Facebook page, "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Square One Sponsored Event - Mike King Golf Invitational Fundraiser

Square One has relationships throughout the community and often finds itself aligned with charitable organizations. Recently, a friend of the owners - Mike King - passed away after a battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It affects everything from movement to speech to even breathing, and is considered the most common of the five motor neuron diseases.

This Saturday, June 8th at 1:30pm there will be a golf invitational fundraiser at Fox Run Golf Course, 3001 MacIneery Drive, Council Bluffs, IA sponsored by Square One and other community leaders in honor of Mike King. The money raised will go to cover expenses from Mike's battle with ALS.

While the deadline has passed to golf, you can still participate by attending the event as a spectator, or by donating to the cause. Donations can be mailed to: Mike King Invitational, c/o Kent Bogardus, 316 Wildwood Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51503. Or you can visit our website at http://www.square1club.com and click on the Donate tab on the left side of the home page.

You can also help the greater cause by spreading the word about ALS and helping donate toward research for a cure.

Thank you for your help and support of this great cause!