LIMIT YOUR CHILD’S JUNK FOOD, FIZZY DRINKS INTAKE
A MOTHER, upset about her five-year-old son having become extremely overweight, has managed to resolve the situation by seeking help from a counsellor and dietitian.
Meisie Mokoena, 32, of the Free State said she felt helpless after being told 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,” Mokoena said.
“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, so I usually buy it for him every day after preschool before dropping him at after care.”
Mokoena said she would often buy burgers, cold drinks and sweets for her son, and was shocked when she was told she was not being kind, but rather harming her child.
“I don’t know what to do anymore. 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 Lehlohonolo’s 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.
“I always advise my patients not to drink too much tea or fizzy drinks, and that they should go for regular check-ups with dentist,” he said.
Encouraged by what she was learning, Mokoena managed to start a healthier eating programme at home. She also signed Lehlohonolo up for tennis and 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 taught to do extra practice rounds to make them more active.
Mokoena said after realising that she was harming Lehlohonolo by allowing bad eating habit,s she has since banned junk food and fizzy drinks.