A mother, upset because her five-year-old son weighs in at a staggering 45kg, has started resolving the situation by seeking help from a
counsellor and dietitian.
'I am the one to blame'
Meisie Mokoena (32) of the Free State said she felt helpless after
being told that her son’s weight was a serious health issue.
“My son Lehlohonolo is only five years old, and is already weighing
45kg. The last time he visited the clinic, the nurse advised me that I must
watch what I give my child to eat because he is too overweight for his age,”
“I do not know when things went wrong, but I am the one to blame for
my son’s weight because I am spoiling him by giving him too much junk food and
fizzy drinks. He prefers this kind of food, especially chips, so I usually buy it
for him everyday after pre-school before dropping him at after care.”
Read: Breastfeeding cuts risk of childhood obesity
Mokoena said she would offer buy burgers, cold drinks and sweets for
her son, and was shocked when she was told that she was not being kind, but
rather harming her child.
“I don't know what to do any more. When I try to be tough with him,
it hurts,” she said, explaining the pain she felt when she did not give in to
the child’s demands for junk food.
“I started going to therapy in order to deal with all of this,
because I could no longer stand seeing my son eating about four meals a day,”
she said, adding that not only was Lehlohonolo overweight, his teeth had also
started changing colour.
Dental surgeon Dr Sello Phakoe said many children experienced a
discolouration of their teeth because of excessive consumption of sugary drinks
and insufficient brushing.
“I always advise my patients not to drink too much tea or fizzy
drinks, and that they should go for regular check-ups with the dentist,” he said.
Read: Off to the dentist!
Encouraged by what she was learning through counselling, Mokoena
managed to start a healthier eating programme at home. She also signed
Lehlohonolo up for tennis at his pre-school, as well as for swimming lessons.
“I want him to exercise more so he can lose some weight,” she said.
Tennis coach Lyndon van der Haer said he tried to encourage the
overweight children he teaches to do extra practice rounds in an effort to make
them more active.
Mokoena said after realising that she was harming Lehlohonolo by
allowing bad eating habits she has since made a rule banning junk food and
fizzy drinks at home. – Health-e News.
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