9-Year-Old Loses 66 Pounds & We Wonder if It's Worth It (VIDEO)

Mom Moment 16

Breanna BondOn one hand, Breanna Boden is an amazing inspiration. After reaching a weight of 186 pounds, the 9-year-old girl embarked on a healthy lifestyle overhaul and has lost an incredible 66 pounds in the past year. She is the poster child for what we want to show every overweight child in America -- it can be done with healthy eating habits and exercise. And good for her for doing it.

After facing bullying from peers and problems keeping up with her friends, her mother, Heidi Bond, decided something had to be done. She told Good Morning America that they had Breanna tested for everything from thyroid to diabetes to allergies, and everything was normal. Even though she reached 100 pounds by kindergarten, her pediatrician "always said that she'd grow into her body," but after awhile Heidi knew that wouldn't be the case. So she designed her own exercise and eating program for Breanna. And it worked.

Today Breanna looks amazing and healthy, and the teasing has stopped. But I can't help but wonder if what she's doing is worth it, and if the plan that got her to where she is today is really sustainable for a lifetime.

While she's added in some fun healthy activities like basketball and joining a swim team, the rest of the weight loss plan sounds brutal. They started walking a four-mile trail near their home and did it daily, no matter what. "There was nothing that stopped us," Heidi Bond said. "We went at night, in the rain, in the hail, in the fog, nothing. We had a zero-tolerance policy. We're doing the walk, no matter what."

Today her mom says Breanna limits her fat intake to 24 grams a day, and she spends an hour and 15 minutes a day on the treadmill. And she's 9. 

That just sounds so extreme to me for a little girl, and while her weight definitely needed to be addressed, I think of all of the birthday parties, and Christmas cookies, and other carefree parts of childhood that will never be hers without this huge burden of her weight loss plan hanging over her. Yes, her health should come first, and sacrifices must be made, but 24 grams of fat a day isn't much at all, and a treadmill?

Most adults couldn't keep this up for long ... and don't. So I worry about the pressure on her to do so, and what happens when she goes through puberty, or to high school, or to college. I wonder if the regime had to be so extreme or whether it could have been done more gradually through smaller changes? And why didn't they make some changes sooner?

The bottom line, however, is that when your child's health and happiness are at stake, there's almost nothing most parents wouldn't do to try to ensure them as quickly as possible. Being overweight comes with so many complications and risk factors, it would be negligent NOT to try and help your child lose weight. So I absolutely understand her mother's determination to help her on this journey, and I applaud Breanna for all of her hard work. I just hope the way they chose to do it is really worth it in the long run.  

What do you think of Breanna's 66-pound weight loss?


Image via ABC

girls, kids nutrition, kid health


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ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

WOW. That does sound VERY Extereme. But since I dont know her entire medical history or anything I can't judge. Especially since it worked. I know that for some people its really hard to lose weight. 

dirti... dirtiekittie

i agree with @ruby_jewel. it sounds extreme to me as well, but then again i'm not her mother. i know that plan wouldn't work with my kid, but they didn't say this was a one-size-fits-all diet. good for this little girl, just so long as she knows that her self esteem is about how she feels about herself and not what others think of her. 

Miche... Michelephant

15 mins jogging on a treadmill and a 4 four mile walk doesn't sound that extreme.   That's about an hour and a half of exercise a day.   And i'm sure those long walks with her mom gives them a lot of time to talk and bond.  

And as for the fat intake, younger children don't need as many calories or as high of a fat intake as an adult.  Simply eating a lot of veggies and lean meats and substituting with fat-free options makes this pretty simple to maintain.  They will probably up the fat intake as she gets older and/or as she becomes more competative in sports and needs more calories.

nonmember avatar Anon

You wonder if its worth it? Well, considering the fact that she is no longer likely to have a heart attack by the time she's 13, I'd say yeah, it is absolutely worth it. When I was 9, I ate all healthy, homemade meals and played outside for at least an hour and a half a day, unless I was playing a sport or something. When you compare what I did with what this little girl is doing, it's not so extreme after all.

dirti... dirtiekittie

@michelephant - that was an hour and 15 minutes  on the treadmill, not just 15 minutes. if that were the case, i could even see that. but this is a 4 mile walk every day on top of 75 minutes of the treadmill time. again, i'm glad it worked for her, but still sounds a bit extreme for a 9 year old. 

laure... laurenemb

Listen, with the rampant issue of childhood obesity which carries over into adulthood in this country, good for this parent for teaching her child early on the importance of exercise and not making excuses ("but I'm too tired from [work/school]," "but it's raining," "I just don't feel like it today") and teaching her boundaries in terms of "good foods" versus "bad foods." extreme? Sure. But it would have been more unthinkable that this poor child could have weighed over 200 pounds before middle school. 

She's still young, and I'm sure in her teenage years she'll loosen the strings on the diet, but at least she'll have learned portion control and how to exercise through the holidays. Bravo to this family and most especially to that brave little girl.

psych... psychofab

I wonder if they tried losing the weight with a less extreme measure and it just didn't work. If that's the case I really hope they looked at possible medical issues. 

power... powertothekids

i think treadmills are fun,but why couldnt she do a 4 mile thing on it?

curly... curlygirl31

This is so worth it she deserves to be healthy. She has learned at an early age to take care of herself and it will benefit her later in life.

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