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Book Review: Get a Healthy Weight for Your Child

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Book Review: Get a Healthy Weight for Your Child
Cover image courtesy of Firefly Books

The Bottom Line

By Dr. Brian W. McCrindle and James G. Wengle; 301 pages. Subtitle: A Parent's Guide to Better Eating and Exercise

It's hard to pick up a newspaper these days without being reminded that children are too fat, too fat, too fat. There's a whole lot of alarm but not a whole lot of useful how-to, other than saying, "Put down the twinkie and turn off the TV!" If you need something more specific than that, this book has the details. You still have to get off the couch, though.

About the Guide Rating

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Pros

  • Lays out a four-stage program for managing your child's weight
  • Full of specifics and checklists for making the plan work
  • Focuses on sensible strategies involving both diet and exercise
  • Presents case studies of families to serve as inspiration
  • Empowers parents to do something other than worry

Cons

  • Takes a long time and a lot of pages to get to that four-stage plan
  • Specifics can sometimes become overwhelming
  • Finding time and place to exercise is a problem for many families
  • Happy turn-arounds in case studies seem a little too convenient
  • If getting your child to eat right and exercise was this easy, you'd probably be doing it already

Description

  • Chapter 1: How Serious Is the Overweight Problem?
  • Chapter 2: How Do I Know If My Child Is Overweight?
  • Chapter 3: Food, Weight, and Health
    Part 1: Energy Balance and Building Blocks
  • Chapter 4: Food, Weight, and Health
    Part 2: Systems Support and Energy Density
  • Chapter 5: Healthy Weight Food Choices
    Part 1: Fresh Whole Foods
  • Chapter 6: Healthy Weight Food Choices
    Part 2: Processed and Preserved Foods
  • Chapter 7: Physical Activity, Weight, and Health
  • Chapter 8: The Healthy Weight Program
  • Healthy Weight Resources
    References
    Index

Guide Review - Book Review: Get a Healthy Weight for Your Child

In the end, we all know what's needed to lose weight, for ourselves and for our kids. Eat less. Exercise more. It's a simple formula, but one that can be perilously difficult to implement. Books that offer a specific, spelled-out way to make those lifestyle changes hold immense appeal -- surely, if somebody told us exactly what to do, we'd be able to do it. Get a Healthy Weight for Your Child puts the focus right where it belongs: on lifestyle change, not weight loss; on eating healthy, not eating less; on involving the whole family, not targeting one vulnerable member. If you're really ready to clear all the junk food from the pantry and clear all the lazy people from the couch, you'll find checklists and schedules and plans here to get you moving in the right direction.

If you're not ready, the book offers plenty of rationale for changing your ways, chapters and chapters of it, mostly the same things you've been hearing in alarmist news stories or from alarmed doctors. Those who don't need to be lectured again may want to skip directly to Chapters 5, 6 and 7, which list acceptable foods and suggested forms of exercise, or even all the way to Chapter 8, which outlines the particular details and strategies of the Healthy Weight Program. The book's headline- and box-heavy structure makes it easy to dip back into the earlier chapters for any information, assistance, or chastising you may need.

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