My 10-year-old daughter is large. My question is do you have a simple diet for her to lose 10 pounds?

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I am 41 and have a 10-year-old daughter, 11 years in October, that is overweight. She is 5 feet 3 inches and weighs 135 pounds. She is not huge fat, but large. She is coordinated and attractive and I want to help her with this weight thing.

When she was born she was measured and I remember them saying that only 5 out of 100 children will be larger than her. I am large, 6 feet 2 inches and weigh about 230 pounds. My ex-wife is the type that does not gain weight and can eat virtually anything. She does not exercise either. So for the past 7 years, to my disagreement, my daughter has eaten poorly and not exercised regularly. I’ve had to learn about exercise and diet because of my tendency to overeat and gain weight. I too have set poor overeating examples for my daughter and need to change.

Last night I downloaded My Plate to show my daughter what to eat generally speaking. I am in the process of getting my daughter to live with me for an extended period, a few months, to teach her diet and exercise, at this point in her life. I use a Nordic Track regularly. I know veggies, fruit, grains, some protein, low fat is the way to go. I told her if she is 15 pounds overweight she is carrying two of these gallon containers all day. It was a good example.

My question is do you have a simple diet for her to follow to knock 10 pounds off? Also, training material in plain English regarding food groups, maybe a graphic of the pyramid, to help me teach my daughter to manage her diet and weight? Any help is appreciated.

Generally, children should not go on weight loss eating plans unless they have health complications due to overweight which would be up to their doctor. If children are overweight for height, they should be allowed to grow into their height by maintaining their weight.

Your daughter is not overweight for age just because her height and weight are greater than the 97th percentile. She is taller than 97% of girls her age and considering your height, she probably has your genes for growing tall.

At birth, if she was in the 95th percentile for height and weight, then she is continuing to grow at the same growth rate which is very good. When she hits an adolescent growth spurt around puberty, she will probably continue to grow taller than 97% of girls her age. Teach her to respect her body, be active and stand straight to embrace her height.

My Plate is a good place to learn about eating a balanced eating plan. She can go to My Plate as there is a section for kids to learn about a healthy eating plan.

What I am most concerned about though is the messages she gets from you about her weight and what she eats. It sounds like you may be projecting your own weight concerns on your daughter or perhaps fearing that she inherited your tendency to be overweight. The concern is good, but “diet” talk is not around a pre-adolescent girl. You are setting her up for an eating disorder.

Ask her what sports or exercise she likes to do and join her doing some of them regularly. The best support you can provide her is by modeling appropriate food and exercise behaviors and keep healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, meat and beans and a moderate amount of oils) in your house for meals and snacks. If you don’t buy it or make it, she (and you) will have a difficult time eating junk food.

Your positive feedback and support can do more to guide her to make good food and exercise choices that she will carry with her into adolescence in spite of the negative social messages given females about their weight. Send your daughter the message to be healthy, physically strong and athletic which will do more to build her self-esteem as well as her body.

FYI, your BMI is 29.6 and your healthy body weight is 144 to 194 pounds. Read the overweight topic for more information for yourself.