Fat Boy Slim

Fight those calories: Choose bananas, not Big Macs, for the road

May 8, 2003
Outside Magazine

AMERICANS OF ALL AGES are packing on the pounds, but the rate at which kids are getting fat is particularly alarming. Since 1980, the percentage of overweight children has tripled, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood obesity is something everyone should worry about, says nutritionist and trainer Philip Goglia. Although he is better known for body makeovers of star clients (among them Kristanna Loken, the villain of this summer's Terminator 3), Goglia spends a good deal of time addressing children's weight woes. The author of Turn Up the Heat: Unlock the Fat-Burning Power of Your Metabolism (Viking Press) told us how parents can help their kids, especially while vacationing.

Why are you so interested in childhood obesity?
I was about 120 pounds overweight in my early teens, so I can relate to the health problems these kids have. And I'm also a father.

Why are kids getting fatter?
Part of the problem is convenience foods. They're highly advertised, children want them, and parents give in. Even my clients who are eating well and exercising are guilty of feeding their kids deep-fried chicken fingers.

What can parents do if they have a couch-potato kid?
You have to ask yourself, "Do I sit in front of the TV, too?" If the answer is yes, then you'd better change. Whatever change your child makes without you doing the same will be superficial.

How do you stay on the health-food wagon when you travel?
Always pack snacks like raw almonds, peanut butter, or fruit. Also, plan your stay. Have the hotel concierge fax you a menu before your trip, and if there are no healthy options, make special requests. If you're going to a cabin, take food with you and know where the grocery store is. This makes it easier to avoid giving in to convenience.

Any other travel tips?
Keep taking your vitamins and drinking a lot of water, especially if you're going on a plane, which is a winged petri dish of germs.

What is the one big mistake parents can avoid?
You know, it is so easy to make food magical and mystical by saying, "You had a bad day, here is a brownie." Instead, I want parents to say, "Eat this chicken breast and you'll run faster."

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