At 17, staying at a healthy weight is a game Taylor LeBaron knows he can win. But three years ago, he weighed 300 pounds!
"It was not fun to say the least. I was teased and tormented. I was scared to death to go to the doctor's for high blood pressure, high cholesterol," LeBaron told Ivanhoe.
Pediatric surgeon Mark Wulkan says he's seeing more and more kids with extreme weight issues.
"Many of the children we're seeing have a BMI, body mass index, greater than 40. Normal is in the twenties," Wulkan explained.
Taylor decided something had to change. Using online calculators, he figured out how many calories his body needs each day. Then, he set up the "ultimate fitness game". The idea was to spend and save calories like money.
Exercising helped build his credit, but eating bad foods would cost him. For example, a cookie set him back 200 points. Just like a videogame, he fought off bad foods and went after the good ones.
Some tips for parents: figure out your child's BMI to determine how much he needs to lose and limit. Allow only two snacks between meals. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week. Cut TV time to less than two hours a day and try to make healthy living fun. Taylor went from 300 pounds to 145 in just two years! It's a success story that was life-changing.
"It's like I'm a totally new person," LeBaron said.
You can calculate your child's BMI through various web sites. The CDC has an online calculator and so does the NIH. Taylor's written a book called "Cutting Myself In Half" to help others follow the same weight loss regimen he did.
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