Obesity Denial

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," December 26, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN GIBSON, "BIG STORY" CO—HOST: The big issue tonight, way too many children in America are obese, not just overweight —— obese. And apparently, an alarming number of parents don't seem to see it that way and that's probably why the kids are obese.

JAMIE COLBY, "BIG STORY" GUEST CO—HOST: A new study saying that 43 percent of parents with obese kids between the ages of 6 and 11 — well, they think their kid is about the right weight. Fifty—six percent of moms and dads of obese 12 to 17—year—olds, those older kids, believe their kid is only slightly overweight. Denial — denial isn't just a river in Egypt. It's an ocean and it's right here at home. Why can't some parents see their children for what they really are?

GIBSON: With us now is health expert Devin Alexander, host of "Healthy Decadence" on the Discovery Health Channel. Devin, thanks very much. So here's the big question — your kid is fat. Why can't you see it? What's going on?

DEVIN ALEXANDER, HOST, "HEALTHY DECADENCE": Well, I think a lot of parents are trying to protect their kids and they don't want to admit that they're actually setting them up for health issues.

GIBSON: Well, you mean, people are looking at their larger and larger kid, swelling up with soda, and all this junk food. And they're just saying to themselves, "Oh, this is just a phase. They'll grow out of it. They'll get a growth spurt"?

ALEXANDER: Yes. Well, a lot of them, especially the 6 to 11—year—olds, you know, they figure, "Oh, as they get older, they'll lose their baby fat." And I know, even as a kid, I was obese. I lost 55 pounds and my brother and I were both getting set up to, you know, be heavy.

And my brother took up dirt—bike racing and started working out all the time and he just naturally lost the weight. Well, I continued to struggle because I wasn't active. But here are parents who, you know, had to face both of these issues. And I think a lot of parents just think, "Oh, it will go away".

COLBY: But Devin, you were the exception to the rule as was your brother. Kids today, I don't know if you had computers and video games, they're just sitting around and the parents are buying them the Wii's. The apparatuses have sold out.

ALEXANDER: It's true. That's exactly what we need to do. We need to take more initiative and really be honest with ourselves. Are our children are overweight? And then go to a pediatrician. You don't even need to get your kids involved in this, because you can make changes to their diet and exercise regimes without them really even realizing, which is what's going to set them up.

COLBY: It sounds easy. I don't know, John. It sounds easy, but kids — they don't want to eat healthy.

GIBSON: Yes. Devin, I mean, what's going to be easy for parents, stop taking the kid to McDonald's who are watching these people eat french fries and burgers, or to get them moving —

ALEXANDER: Well, both.

GIBSON: Just to get them moving and try to exercise that McDonald's off?

ALEXANDER: See, but that's the point, we need both. You can't just do one or the other. Kids need to be active, and you know, help them find something that they love. Because if they love dancing or they love playing soccer, they're going to want to do it, and you don't have to go, "Oh, it's time to work out. And you're doing them a favor long term.

And then with the food, scale back. You know, yes, we don't need to be going to the drive—thru so much. Instead, make the food that they love at home that make them feel like they're eating the stuff they want to be eating. I mean, even lower—fat brownies. There are so many great foods now.

GIBSON: Devin Alexander, host of "Healthy Decadence" on the Discovery Health Channel. Devin, thank you very much.


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