Posted by: Dee Dee | 2008/07/08

Obese 8 year old

My daughter is 8 years old , height 1,37m , weight 49kg (obese) Can you recommend what her calorie intake should be. I have had her tested for thyroid problems, insulin, diabetes, etc etc.... Nothing wrong except her cholesterol is 5.2. She is by no means a couch potato and she eats relatively healthy... I need to know according to her weight and height what her calorie intake should be per day and what to foods to avoid with respect to getting her cholesterol down... PLEASE HELP

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear DeeDee
Your lassie is indeed very heavy for her age, but she is also extremely tall (taller than the average for 10-year-olds), so if you have not had her assessed by an endocrinologist to determine why she is a) so tall and b) so heavy, then I would recommend that you ask your gp to refer you to this type of specialist. She may have a problem with her growth hormone production (unless this has also been tested by now). The normal calorie intake for 8-year-olds is 70 cal per kg and the normal weight should be 26 kg on average, thus 70 x 26 = 1800 cal per day. However because your lassie also has increased cholesterol levels, I would seriously urge you to take her to a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). The dietitian will have to work out a diet for her that helps her to lose weight, lowers her cholesterol, but still provides all the nutrients she needs for normal, healthy growth and development. In addition I would recommend that she should do aerobic exercise every day (running, jogging, skipping, cycling, swimming, join a gym or Walk for Life) for 30 min or more. The simplest exercise is to buy her a skipping rope and encourage her to skip for 30 min/day. As she starts to lose weight and gets fitter she can skip faster and for longer periods. To read about how to reduce cholesterol click on 'Diet' and 'You are what you eat' and read the 'Healthy Heart' section.
Holding thumbs for you and your daughter.
Best regards

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