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On Hold with Atchka! and Ellyn Satter

June 21, 2012

For all of the On Hold interviews I’ve reposted, I have included a revamped introduction post because I felt the need to expound upon my thoughts at the time. After rereading my introductory post for Ellyn Satter, I see no need to update the info, so I’m just reposting it as is:

I adore Ellyn Satter.

I learned about her through Michelle Allison*, The Fat Nutritionist, and after researching the Ellyn Satter method of feeding your child healthfully, I contacted her last February for an interview. She promptly responded, but due to scheduling conflicts, the interview didn’t take place until recently.

In the meantime, she was kind enough to send me review copies of two of her books: “Your Child’s Weight: Helping without Harming” and “Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: Orchestrating and Enjoying the Family Meal.” I devoured her books intensely and couldn’t wait to talk to her about them, if only to gush over how much I adored the wisdom, research and practical advice contained in each.

In short, Ellyn teaches parents why the “childhood obesity epidemic” is not the downfall of civilization, how to tell if your child’s weight is a health problem or not (it all has to do with consistent growth patterns), and how to cope with a child who eats “too much” or “too little,” neither of which is a sign of an unhealthy child (unless accompanied by other issues, such as variations in growth patterns).

She also provides excellent ways to feed your child in a balanced, healthful way that doesn’t require calorie counting, restricting foods or shaming your child.

I cannot recommend these books enough for parents and although the interview is a brief 30 minutes, I hope you will enjoy what Ms. Satter has to share from her decades of experience.

I mention in the interview that there were some quotes from her book that I wanted to share because they are quite informative about the misguided approach some parents take to having a heavy child. I didn’t have time in the interview, so I will post them here. For the research behind them, you’ll have to pick up one of her books.

I found the following facts intriguing and enlightening, and I hope you do too:

  • “Parents who worry about their children’s weight and try to get or keep them thinner tend to raise fatter children.”
  • “When parents severely restricted access to ‘forbidden’ foods, their school-aged daughters were more likely to eat in the absence of hunger and be fatter as well as to feel ashamed of themselves for eating. Girls who dieted during high school were fatter by graduation that those who did not diet.”
  • “The fat infant, toddler, or preschooler is no more likely to grow up to be fat than is the thin one. In fact, it isn’t until a child is 9 to 13 years old, depending on the study you read, that the likelihood of his remaining fat in later life pulls even with his likelihood of slimming down… Only about 10% of obese men in a large study in England were obese at age 11.”
  • “A longitudinal study in the San Francisco Bay Area followed children from 6 months to 16.5 years. There were no difference in food selection between children who became overweight and those who remained slim. When compared with the others, the overweight children ate no more calories, ate no more low-nutrient-density, high-fat or high sugar foods, were no more likely to have been formula-fed, were started no earlier on solid foods, were no more likely to have been given high-fat milk.”
  • “A nationwide survey showed that food-insecure girls ages 5-12 years who participated in the Food Stamp Program and the national school lunch and breakfast programs were 68% less likely to be overweight than food-insecure girls who didn’t participate.”
  • “Children who suffer from food insecurity eat not fewer fruits and vegetables than do those who live in families with plenty of money to buy food.”
  • “Overweight children commonly reported being ‘embarrassed doing physical activity and playing sports.’”

*Stay tuned for an interview with Michelle tomorrow!

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