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For Parents Diet Question - edited version

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Jan 22, 2008
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How many of those on team have a nutritionist come and speak to the team girls? Also does your gym encourage a particular diet for your girls. I was listening to parents the other day talking about a meeting we will have this summer about what the girls are eating and this person will meet with them too and weigh them and check their BMI and give recommendations. Is this a common practice?

Mind you I watch very close what DD eats and instill eating fruits and not junk so to speak. she gets no juice and only drinks Milk or water. I just was caught off guard when they were telling me about the team diet.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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The nutrition part wouldn't bother me - I figure the more kids hear about good nutrition the better. And of course we all know that when it comes from someone else other than parents they listen better, lol. The part that would concern me would be the weigh ins and the BMI checks. Pretty much the only time my kids get weighed is when they go to the doctor. I think, especially for girls, that if they focus too much on a number on the scale they are setting themselves up for problems. My dd definitely weighs more than she looks like she should b/c of muscle - as is the case for most gymnasts. What are they trying to accomplish with this whole thing? Educating them about what their bodies need for this very demanding sport is great. Having them start obsessing about numbers and weight at a young age - not so much, IMHO.
 

Aussie_coach

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Our elite gyms do weigh the gymnasts and give skin fold tests and have them meet with a nutritionist. But these are the girls who are hand picked to be trained to represent the country at an international level. They do need to fit a certain build but that should not be the case for the vast majority of gymnasts. Gymnastics should be a sport for all body types and once gymnasts start being told what they should and shouldn't weigh they start to see themselves as fitting the right body type or the wrong one. Which eventually damges their success in the gym.

Yes talk about good health and drinking plenty of water and avoiding foods that raise the insulin levels too much and eating enough to survivie training. But if it about weight it should not be addressed.
 

gymnomore

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Aug 3, 2007
208
I've never heard of gyms that do this but I think it's a good idea. The weighing in part might be kind of iffy, because you don't want to cause any emotional distress to these girls about being overweight, or even suggesting that they are. This, of course may cause eating disorders among adolescents at a very sensitive time in their lives. Other than that, the point of stressing healthy eating habits for competitive purposes as well as overall health benefits can't be emphasized enough.
 

Monkeygirlsmom

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Feb 10, 2007
764
I think the talk of eating healthy and all is good!! I do agree about the weighing tho! I def do not want my kids weighed!! they get weighed at the dr and thats it!! once in a while we do weigh the kids at home but its just for seeing if they are growing etc!!! and to see if they were ready for new car seats and all!!!
 
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I absolutely agree with flippymonkeysmom.

I think you have to be very careful with teenage girls and weighing scales. It is such a sensitive age and their thinking can be tipped either way by a perception or a wrong word on this subject. There is also so much media attention with regard to size 0, catwalk models etc.

I would be extremely reluctant to allow my daughters to be weighed by a stranger. I would like to find out exactly what are the qualifications of the nutritionist, how are the consultations going to be handled (privately, openly discussing weights etc) and exactly what information is going to be given to the girls before I would even consider allowing them to attend.

I am all in favour of sports nutritional advice (eg what should one eat before, during and after training sessions etc) and would obviously wholly support anybody endorsing healthy eating options but if calorie controlling and a preoccupation with numbers on a scale is in the offing, I would not be happy with it.
 
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bpatient

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How many of those on team have a nutritionist come and speak to the team girls? Also does your gym encourage a particular diet for your girls.

I think that tracking my daughter's weight is as reasonable as measuring her height. I understand that some parents may be uncomfortable with weigh-ins, but the real issue isn't related to collecting the data, it's in how that information is interpreted and treated within and outside the gym.

One of the reasons that I support my daughter's participation in gymnastics is to help to foster a healthy body image that's based on competence and fitness and not on how nearly she approximates the appearance of advertising images of 17 year-old heroin addicts. I believe that the more she knows about nutrition and how a healthy diet supports her growth and fuels her athletic performance, the less likely she is to fall into the trap of unhealthy eating habits.

Frankly, many--even most--reasonable, intelligent, and extremely competent people really don't know much about nutrition. In addition, if gym parents are much like the general population in the US, the majority of gymnasts may be growing up in an environment where their role models (and the people who shop for and prepare their food) themselves have some or considerable difficulty with maintaining a healthy weight. Many kids would benefit from some nutritional guidance from an outside expert, because it can be surprisingly difficult to obtain appropriate guidance at home.

I'd welcome support from a nutrtionist to help my child to understand how to stay on track for a healthy life. If your team's "particular diet" is appropriate for healthy young athletes, your child should be well served by the inclusion of another expert in her training program.
 

bogwoppit

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The weighing think makes me go :eek:. My girls are weighed when we go to the Doctors office and very rarely otherwise. I talk about strong healthy bodies needed good foods to grow on, it's okay to have some junk as long as the body has all the other right foods to be strong. Hubby is a dentist, so that adds another layer to the nutrition puzzle.

Our gym encourages healthy food in the gym, that's it. We have all different shapes and sizes. Medals seem to be won by all different body types, just the way it should be.

I would really not want weight to become any part of my DD's gym, there is already so much pressure on girls today to be "perfect', they already are their own perfect.

I do not know what I'd do if this was presented at our gym, and I know the OP's daughter is very young to be assessed this way. If you say she can't be weighed it will make her feel left out, but being a part of a weigh in of any kind smacks of Weight Watchers and is the last thing I would wish on any child who has to wear a leo and be judged in front of crowds.

Let us know what you do, I am surious what the point of the whole weigh in is....:confused:
 
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Deleted member 1703

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One point to ponder upon is that, by nature, these groups of girls are already very competitive. The extension of that competitiveness to body weight or body fat % should be avoided at all costs. For this reason, I do not agree with group "weigh-ins".
 

bogwoppit

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I copied the OP's question into the coaches forum. I"d love to get their opinion on this prickly issue.
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
I have to say I don't have a problem with DD getting weighed and her BMI done. I think it is all done to show where there is room for a healthlier eating habits. They don't weigh the girls on a regular basis this is just to get them on the same page and to help them make the right choices. (this is what I am believing). I did talk to DH and neither of us have a problem if the recommended diet is a healthy diet and one that is realistic. Meaning teaching her how to eat right and what things she shouldn't be eating. Trust me DD can eat and on more than one ocassion I have had to tell her to "STEP AWAY FROM THE FOOD". :p She is not over weight by any means she is 46 inches tall and 42lbs. She has a waist of a size 3T and wears a size 6 for the length. Also both of our children get the scales out and weigh themselves on a weekly basis but they get excited when the number changes because they think they have grown more. :eek:

From what I understand this person talks about the dangers of eating McDonalds and junk and helps to inform the girls and us of some good choices that they can have on the go.

After the meeting I will let you all know what happens. It isn't going to happen till later this summer. I was just caught off guard listening to them talking about the team diet. It freaked me out a tiny bit. Also trust me our gym has girls in all shapes and sizes too. I just didn't know if this happened at other gyms or if it was a usual thing so to speak.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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The nutrionist idea is fine. Discuss eating healthy and how to make good choices when out to eat/shop etc. I don't think there needs to be a team diet put in place---some kids will like some foods and others will find other things that are healthy to eat. I know our hc does talk with the girls about healthy eating and bringing in healthy snacks to practice.

As for weigh in and checking BMI-----absolutely not. It doesn't show if your kid is eating healthy or not. At the meeting I would ask if the weight/BMI would be done in private or groups and if the parents get a report. Thing is to the little ones, the numbers mean nothing. To the tweens and teens it could be devastating even though you could tell them until you're blue in the face that alot of that is muscle etc.

This really sounds like a way of doing weigh ins again(as in the 70s/80s) under the guise of nutrition. I would say if your dd's doctor has no concern with her weight, then why should the gym care?
 

Panda-girl's Mom

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Jan 9, 2008
781
It is funny although most gyms focus on good nutrition yet in all the meets we have been in the past year, they have all sold candygrams to send out to the gymnasts. Unfortunatly my daughter is a candy-holic although she also eats alot healthy foods. They work so hard at the gym I am sure it burns alot of calories. I think weighing in is very dangerous ecspecailly with the teenage girls.
 
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bigtiny

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My personal opinion is that I would not let my daughters (I have three on team) get weighed in the gym. I don't think that's the place for it. That is an issue for parents and doctors, not coaches. Talking about nutrition is fine, but I'd think that they would want parents to be part of that discussion.

My daughters are all small and weight has never been an issue. Even with that, I can see my older daughters (11 and 9) starting to pay close attention to weight. I make sure to emphasize health and nutrition with them. There is enough pressure in the world on girls. They do not need pressure on that issue from the gym.

Honestly, if their gym put them on a scale, we would walk out the door. My philosophy is that gymnastics should build them up, not knock them down.

I'm sure you will decide whatever is best for your daughter :).
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
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I do not agree with weigh-ins at the gym at all. Like some of the other posters said, they are already very competitive and are around each other in leos all day so knowing their weight or bmi is only going to cause issues. There is no reason to weigh a child unless they are at their doctors office to determine healthy growth.
I would seriously ask the gym owners what the purpose of the weigh-ins are for. Also, the nutrtionist idea is good in that I think it is important for kids to learn good nutrition early so that they grow into healthy adults. You just have to be careful in how you present the material to gymnasts since they are already trained to "perfect" skills and work so many hours in the gym.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
981
I think it is great to have a nutritionist come into the gym. Knowledge is power!:p

I guess I am in the minority here to say that I would have no issue having the nutritionist check my childs weight and BMI measurements. I think it is important for children to know and understand the importance of "what is obesity?". I doubt that one weigh in would effect a child's mental state anyway, unless it is a particularly fragile child. If that is the case then the parent may make a decision to not have their child participate - I assume it is voluntary.

My boys are teenagers now & have been involved in sports for years where they have had to be weighed weekly , and at f-ball, speed camps have had their BMI checked as well. They always had fun with this, never considered it anything more then a heathy guidline. In their case, weighing in each week has actually helped them to make their own healthy choices - at least come game time :D They are conscious but not paranoid about staying fit.

Schools have actually considered BMI checks for students as well - obviously controversial. Here is an article.

http://www.ashaweb.org/pdfs/joshfinal_249_07nov27.pdf
 

mygirlflipz

Member
Apr 11, 2008
52
NY
Okay...I am definitely in the minority here. My dd is weighed twice a day at practice...once before her workout and once after. It is a requirement of the gym to train at her level and I am perfectly fine with it (now that I have gotten used to it:)). I trust her coaches and my daughter and I have a great relationship and communicate about it often.

When we started at this gym, I was a little nervous because it was not something we were used to. I actually spoke with an eating disorder specialist because I wondered if the environment could become unhealthy. She said that weighing is common with gymnasts and other athletes training at an elite level (My dd is not an elite but many of the girls training in the gym are already at that level). I was particularly worried since my daughter (who is 9 by the way) casually reported her weight as part of her discussion about what she had done at practice every day. It just seemed so odd for there to be such a focus on it. The feedback that was given to me was that it was good for her to talk about it everyday and that I should get concerned if she stopped talking about it. My dd has grown a little this year and her weight and height have increased a little as a result. I think they expect that and it has not been an issue.

I honestly am not sure why they do it, but I think some gymnasts at our gym do have weight targets that they cannot exceed but my dd does not. I also think that there are limits that certain gymnasts cannot get under so it goes both ways. My dd has a different build than a Japanese gymnast/person and is much more muscular. They seem to respect that.

So...I think educating the girls on their bodies and the best way to eat is a good thing. In our case, weighing is okay because my dd knows my position on it and is comfortable talking about it with me. Hopefully it will stay that way. I have never really limited what she eats. If she feels like a piece of candy, she has it. Everything in moderation is my philosophy. Hopefully good communication and my dd understanding her body will keep us out of any trouble (or frustration on her part). Keep your fingers crossed for us!
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
No way would I let my girls set foot on a scale at the gym. Even if it's done in private, you think those girls aren't going to talk/compare with each other?

The last thing you want is the implication that "big" girls don't belong in the sport or that there's something "wrong" with a post-pubescent body because it has a higher BMI. My dd1 already felt out of place because, in her words, she was "the only one with boobs and a butt".

Once a gymnast goes elilte, maybe you need to monitor weight. USAG Junior Olympics, though, really should leave the weighing and measuring to the health professionals. Brining in a nutritionist? No problem. The more info they have on good eating, the better.
 

vmom

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Feb 15, 2008
130
I'll go with the majority here. Teaching and encouraging good eating habits is fine. My daughter's coaches are pretty vocal about bringing fruits as snacks rather than cookies or chips. They always say they want their gymnasts healthy, not skinny or tiny.
Weigh ins at the gym would probably devastate my daughter. She is small, but muscular. And she developed a bit earlier than most. (She can relate to the boobs and butt quote!) She is already so self conscious about her body. But, it has not hindered her abilities as a gymnast.
BMI's are tricky. They are just a number and don't really take into account what is fat and what is muscle. My daughter has a healthy BMI, but it is in the high healthy range. But, she is very muscular. I have a low BMI, but I am not healthy and am pretty flabby, despite being "skinny". In other words, if we were weighed in and had our BMI's done together, on paper I would look better. But, in reality if you tried to get me through conditioning, tumbling, bars, beam, vault and floor you'd have to call an ambulance! So why bother with theses numbers if they are not a true measurement of fitness and strength?
 
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Megley

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Count me in the majority as well. I think advice about nutrition, particularly as it relates to gymnastics, is a fantastic idea. I am opposed to the idea of weighing kids at the gym, though. I agree that little kids won't be troubled by this as they love being weighed, generally speaking, but kids approaching adolesence don't need this. I was a swimmer and was weighed daily in college. If we were not our goal weight, we were required to run stairs in full sweats. I attribute it, in part, to later issues with food and weight that it took a long time to overcome.

Meg
 
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