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Guatemala Adoptive Families

Weight gain

Hi there!
I am new to this group and look forward to reading the many posts. I have a question… My daughter came home when she was 8 months old. She is now 10 years old. She eats healthy meals; happily eats fruits and vegetables. I am pretty strict about junk food so she doesn’t get much of that. She gets exercise and participates in syncronized swimming 2x a week. SO overall, she is healthy. However, she continues to be overweight! Mostly in her tummy area. I am not concerned about the aesthetics, she is beautiful as she is! I am concerned about health! I remember reading somewhere that a child adopted from another culture sometimes has different metabolism or dietary issues… have you heard of anything like this?


The biggest contributor to tummy fat is wheat, hands down.

My daughter had the same issues, she is now 13, competitive swimmer and mountain bicyclist. We do our best to limit ALL wheat and grains, and she does much better. You may wish to read Wheat Belly by cardiologist William Davis MD. Your pediatrician will probably tell you this is baloney but I have studied this for years and know it to be true, from both personal and professional experience.
Warm regards,
Cheryl Fordham, MS, LPC

Posted by lamamadebella on Mar 09, 2017 at 11:13pm

We have two daughters who were adopted from Guatemala, now ages 13 & 12.  One thing to also think about is that pre-pubescent girls tend to gain a little weight, particularly in the mid-section, as they prepare for puberty and the onset of menstruation (within next couple years).  Between that, what the other responder wrote about wheat, and what you mentioned re:  metabolism, they might all be at play for your daughter.  Best to you as you try to figure this out! 
-Cristal Lake-Sanders

Posted by Josna on Mar 10, 2017 at 3:19pm

If you look at pre-pubescent girls from Latin America, they often look rather “chunky”.  Interestingly, once they hit puberty, the chunky look tends to disappear; the fat goes to all the right places for curves. 

I strongly disagree about wheat.  Unless a person has celiac disease, a very serious medical condition, eating products made from wheat is fine—in moderation.  In fact, whole wheat bread and similar whole grain products can be very important in ensuring that a person has enough fiber in his/her diet.

With most people, the key to losing weight is reducing overall intake, especially of foods that add calories with no or very little nutritional value, such as sodas.  Children, in particular, need foods rich in foods with high nutritive value, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats (or meat alternatives for vegetarians), dairy products (or alternatives such as almond milk for people with lactose intolerance), and a reasonable amount of fat.  But an occasional soda at a birthday party won’t be terrible.

A child should NEVER be put onto a diet that eliminates whole classes of foods, without medical oversight.  Yes, adults and children who have had an allergic reaction to a food, such as strawberries or shrimp or peanuts, will need to eliminate that item from their diets to avoid life threatening anaphylaxis, and should learn to read labels on processed foods carefully, to ensure that they do not contain that item in some form.  But check with your pediatrician before removing dairy products or wheat products or meat entirely.

In general, most pediatricians will be OK with a vegetarian diet, as long as it contains enough protein and iron from sources other than meat.  The biggest difficulty for many vegetarians is ensuring that their children get enough iron, and a pediatrician may suggest a supplement, particularly if a girl who has started to menstruate doesn’t get enough iron in her diet.

Many pediatricians, including the one who cared for my daughter, do NOT recommend a vegan diet for children.  Aside from the fact that it’s very difficult, on a vegan diet, for a child to get enough calcium to support bone health, and to get enough protein and iron, it is also difficult for a non-vegan family to comply with all of the shopping and cooking requirements of both the vegan and the non-vegan family members.  And it tends to be hard for a child to be vegan around other children, at school, at birthday parties, and so on.  I know a vegan teen, and her non-vegan single Mom does a great job in meeting her needs, but it really takes a major effort.  The only positive thing I can say about veganism for children is that more and more stores are beginning to carry vegan food products.

People who don’t eat meat often use a lot of soy.  Today, some doctors are suggesting that eating large amounts of soy can be harmful.  For one thing, naturally occurring estrogens in soy may affect development of the reproductive system in both girls and boys.  There is also some evidence that it can change thyroid function and the function of some other organs.  Again, as with most foods, there is probably no harm in eating soy in fairly small amounts, unless a person has a soy allergy; the problem is that vegetarians and vegans may use it to excess.  Check with your pediatrician before putting a child on a vegetarian or vegan diet.


Posted by sak9645 on Mar 12, 2017 at 6:21pm

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