Every day thousands of Oklahoma children struggle with their weight.
Childhood obesity is a nationwide epidemic and Oklahoma ranks as one of the worst in the country.
But one Green Country woman is changing her habits to help her daughter.
Kiyah Dover is an active, energetic 10-year-old girl.
But doctors said she’s also about 50 pounds overweight.
“See, I look at her and I see normal size, as well. But in standards, she’s plus, plus,” said Kristi Wood, Dover’s mother.
Wood, can relate.
She’s been fighting the scales since she was just a little girl.
“I struggled my whole life with weight. I was always the biggest girl,” Wood said.
And she was always an easy target for bullies.
“I just remember one time in high school being called Shamu,” Wood said.
Experts say obesity is the number one cause of bullying in schools.
Dover has dealt with her share as well.
“He called me ‘fatty Patty’ and all the mean stuff,” she said.
But she doesn’t let words get to her.
“I didn’t believe a single word he ever said,” she said. “I’m just like, ‘I don’t care. I’m a nice girl and you’re just mean.'”
Even though Dover is tough, her mom is on a mission to build a better life for them both.
“I don’t want her to go through what I went through,” Wood said.
So she’s made changes. Mostly in the kitchen.
She’s dropped 100 pounds in the past year, with a goal of losing 200 more.
“We have started preparing all of our meals at home. We are doing protein shakes and we are eating as fresh as possible,” Wood said.
Making herself more healthy will in turn make Dover healthier.
“Kids see the example of the parents and emulate that behavior,” said Shannon Campbell; Saint Francis dietitian.
Campbell leads the ShapeDown program at Saint Francis, a course to teach obese children healthy habits.
She said about two-thirds of Americans are overweight and a third are obese.
“This is definitely a major struggle that the majority Americans are struggling with,” Campbell said.
It’s expensive to eat healthy.
Which is why Campbell says so many people reach for fast and processed foods — they’re cheaper.
But Wood and Dover have found a way to make it work.
“It makes me feel really good inside,” Dover said. “I see a beautiful young girl … doesn’t really [care] if you’re big, skinny, tall, small… it’s how you treat others.”
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