Helping Parents Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle for Kids with Weight Issues
Worried about your child’s weight and health? There are reasons parents are uneasy. Loads of kids — nearly one in three in Ontario — are dealing with excess weight or obesity, meaning they’re at a higher risk for medical problems, bullying, self-esteem issues and depression.
The good news? There’s a local program that helps parents make healthful changes without kids knowing their weight is a concern. Offered by Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute (BMI), Family Reset equips both parents and kids for a lifetime of better health. “It’s the only such program in the country,” says Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, BMI’s medical director and a world-renowned obesity expert.
What makes this treatment program unique? For one thing, it focuses on the grownups instead of the kids. For another, blame, shame and suffering have no part in it. Finally, Dr. Freedhoff is a parent, too, just like you.
And since the Family Reset program is part of Ontario’s childhood obesity strategy, it’s funded by the ministry of health so there’s no cost for families who qualify. If one or more of your children is aged 12 or younger and their weight is between the 85th and 99th percentile, this option can make a life difference.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, as a father and as a physician, that it’s not a lack of love or caring that leads families, parents or children to struggle,” Dr. Freedhoff explains. Still, “Children, especially young children, simply aren’t responsible for their weights.” To single them out for treatment can do more harm than good.
“Having treated adults with obesity for a decade now, I can tell you many [attribute] their lifelong struggles with yo-yo dieting to that diet their well intentioned parent placed them on at a young age. Helping families isn’t about putting them or their children on ‘diets’ but rather providing the skills and support to improve health without suffering and blame.”
That’s just what Family Reset does.
Not only is the approach remarkable, so is the delivery. Imagine a full year of unlimited access to a team of health professionals, including physicians, dietitians, clinical social workers, fitness trainers and, where necessary, a clinical psychologist. “Our jobs are to help parents reclaim health and teach them to live the lives they want their children to live,” Dr. Freedhoff notes. Moms and dads develop the knowledge and organization skills to make different choices despite busy schedules and mixed social messages about food, weight and health.
Ultimately, all ages benefit. The skills parents learn “will not only serve to ensure healthy children, but also protect and preserve their own health, and stack the deck for their future grandchildren.”
Currently, the wait for a first Family Reset consultation is a few weeks at most. For details, call 613 730-0264 and see bmimedical.ca.