Our expert says:
According to the BMI cut-off points for children published by Cole and his co-authors, in 13-year-old girls, a BMI above 16.84 is regarded as overweight and a BMI above 27.76 is regarded as obese. Your lassie's BMI = 27,66, which is very close to the cut-off for obesity. Because of her young age and the fact that she is still growing actively, I would urge you to take her to a registered dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). The dietitian will have to work out an individual diet prescription for your daughter which helps her to lose weight, but still promotes healthy growth. Once she starts losing weight and becomes more mobile and feels more confident, you can encourage her to be more active. She can do any physical activity that she enjoys (brisk walking, cycling, swimming, skipping, rowing, etc) for 30 min a day in addition to her school sports to support her weightloss efforts. Carbs on their own, esp carbs with a low glycaemic index (GI) and/or a high dietary fibre content are generally not the culprits (they only have an energy content of 16 kJ per gram), but the fats we add to carbs (butter, margarine, mayonnaise, oil, cream, etc), with an energy content of 37 kJ per gram are usually to blame for the weight gain. Eating crisps, cakes, pies, chocolate, and other processed high-fat foods can contribute to weight gain. Liquid sugars as found in sweetened cold drinks and fruit juices have also been found to contribute more to weight gain esp in in inactive individuals, than solid sugar (e.g. having 1 teaspoon of sugar on a porridge). I do think that a dietitian will be able to assist your daughter to lose weight without harming her normal growth.
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