The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE VERVE -

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.

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