Why Kids Are Getting Fat
The Road Back
"We now limit Ashley to two hours of TV a day on weekends and only one hour on weekdays," says Malin. Ashley's father goes to pick her up at childcare one mile from their house, and the two walk home together. "Twice a week, I do a low-impact aerobics tape with her. And I try to include a walk with her every day, even if it means I have to sneak one in. I say, 'I want to pick up our photos from the store, but I can't find my car keys. Let's just walk,'" she says.
Just as excess pounds can creep up, small changes in daily life -- even such old standbys as taking the stairs instead of the elevator -- can produce results.
Heimroth now puts on music rather than the television while fixing dinner, does workout tapes with her daughter, and learned how to cook low-fat meals. She reports that Julia hasn't put on a single pound in six months -- and she herself has lost 40.
After some early resistance -- including tantrums when extra portions were denied -- Ashley Malin lost five pounds in a year (and grew four inches) and, to her mother's delight, recently refused the potato chips she was offered while at a friend's house. "It's an ongoing struggle, and we have our bad days," says Terry Malin, "but all in all, I'm very proud of her. She still does her walks and workout tapes; she started a dance and tumbling class in the fall. She has more energy. So do we. We eat less, we don't get fast food anymore, and the exercise is toning us up too. Ashley's a different child than she was a year ago -- and we're a different family."