Losing weight is no picnic, and it can be especially challenging if you're a young obese child. But a 9-year-old girl from California is proving that even children have the power to shed pounds with the right support and motivation.
Breanna Bond weighed 186 pounds by the time she was 9-years-old, reports ABC's Good Morning America. She had problems with bullies at school and couldn't keep up with her friends because the extra weight made it difficult for her to move around and sometimes even breathe. Breanna had always been a heavy child — she was 100 pounds by kindergartener.
After tests for conditions like thyroid and diabetes came back negative, Breanna's parents Heidi and Dan decided to take things into their own hands.
They began walking a 4-mile trail near their home together, every day, without fail. It didn't take long for Breanna to shed 37 pounds, and within a year, she had dropped an incredible 66 pounds.
Now she follows a diet that includes only 20 grams of fat a day, and runs on her treadmill for an hour and 15 minutes each day.
In a paradox that is a challenge for countless obese people, it seems that it was the obesity itself that made it so difficult for her to perform the exercise that would help her overcome her obesity.
"Imagine going through life and carrying around seven sacks of potatoes," Heidi tells CNN. "That's what it's like for these overweight children. It's taxing on their hearts, organs. It's hurting them tremendously. And society isn't helping."
Breanna tells Good Morning America that one of the best things about the weight loss is that "I can move more." She is now also playing basketball and is on the swim team.
According to the Canadian Childhood Obesity Foundation, more than 26 per cent of Canadian children and youth are considered overweight or obese.
They offer four simple steps to curb the obesity cycle: five fruits and vegetables a day or more, two hours of screen time per day or less, one hour of physical activity or more per day, and zero sugar sweetened beverages per day.
These are useful tips, and ones that Breanna likely follows, but credit should also be given to Breanna herself, for her commitment to living a healthier and more active lifestyle.
"She is an inspiration to the world and all children who are having weight issues across America," Heidi tells GMA. "You can do it with a pair of tennis shoes and motivation."