Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Being Small Is Not A Curse. Healthy Eating Can Help

Dear Tazi:

I am a twelve year old boy and "small for my age", like my Mom says. I am really small. My nine year old brother is the same height as me. I am hoping I will grow a lot over the summer and during the school year because I want to go out for football next Spring.

I have always been really good at football, and was one of the best players on my town's PAL League. My Mom is already freaking out about how I am too small to play football with the high school boys and that I will get crushed or killed by some of the bigger boys. I am a really fast runner, Tazi, and I don't think the bigger boys would be able to catch me but my Mom is freaking out anyway. My Dad and she argue when they think I am not listening. Dad says Mom needs to stop treating me like a baby and let me play football "when the time comes". I agree with my Dad!

Do you think I will grow enough over the next year if I start eating more food? I am hungry all of the time, but I don't eat a lot because I am afraid I will get fat, like my older sister. I know that sounds mean, but she is really huge and I think it is because she eats too much and doesn't play sports.


Dear Billy:

For someone so young you have made some very important observations! You are right that eating too much and not exercising can cause us to gain too much weight but so can a lot of other things, like gland problems. Has your sister been checked for hypothyroidism (HYPO-thigh-roid-ism)? This is a problem that gives a lot of teenage girls a problem with controlling their weight and can make them feel helpless to control their weight, so they just eat more figuring they are going to get fat anyway. Be nice to your sister!

You might have a gland problem, too, which would explain whey you are "small for your age". Your body might not be producing enough human growth hormone (HGH) which could be why you are not growing. I suggest that if you are hungry you eat. Teenage and pre-teen boys need more food than the rest of us because their bodies are going through changes that require extra energy - changes that include growing taller and developing bigger muscles!

Just don't turn into this guy...ever.

I also suggest that you ask your parents to take you to the doctor for a check-up, if you have not had one within the last 12 months. The doctor will be able to evaluate your physical development and let you know if there is a problem with it. Some boys start out small and grow tall and brawny almost overnight! You might be one of those boys, so don't despair! Be sure to eat plenty of healthy foods, including lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains and (if you are not vegan) low-fat dairy products. A healthy diet will result in a healthy body, and that is what you need to play football! Hike!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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