GOOD NEWS: When her 10-year-old son hit 176 pounds and his 8-year-old brother nudged up to 105, Rene Doubrava knew she had to make some big changes.
The Westlake, Ohio, mother didn’t want her sons to start another school year pushing the extreme edges of obesity, occupying the ranks of dangerously overweight tween boys in a country where the fat epidemic is only now leveling off.
“I was concerned,” Doubrava said. “Even the term obesity is scary to me.”
Doubrava was right to be worried. Federal health experts say that the soda-swilling, video-watching habits of boys ages 6 to 19 mean that about 15 percent are now extremely obese, up from about 9 percent a decade ago. Those are kids like Garrett and Nathaniel Uterhark, whose body mass index for age, a standard measure for judging weight, has exceeded the 95th percentile.
Last spring, Doubrava decided to take action, thanks in part to the help of a Cleveland Clinic program that targets the heaviest kids and their families.
She banned soda from her family’s refrigerator and cut out fast food and high-fat snacks. She filled bowls with fruit and platters with vegetables and she sent everyone outside for long walks and bicycle rides.
What a difference a summer can make.
By the time Garrett, 10, started the fifth grade last month and Nathaniel, 8, entered second grade, both boys were taller and thinner, wearing the same size clothes as a year ago.
Garrett is happier and more confident than before, with more friends and less teasing.
“People stopped calling me fat,” said the youngster.
Congratulations to Garrett and Nathaniel–and Rene!!
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