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For many children, television is the enemy

January 06, 2003

Dr. Naomi Neufeld

Pediatric endocrinologist; president of KidShape Inc., a nonprofit weight-control program with 20 centers throughout California; clinical professor of pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine; age 55, lives in Pacific Palisades.

"TV makes kids fat," Dr. Naomi Neufeld says. "One, they could be outside playing and getting exercise. Two, it barrages them with advertisements for unhealthy foods. Three, they often eat mindlessly while watching. People were better off a couple generations ago, when access to television was less and when there wasn't such an abundance of fast-food alternatives."

She also dislikes the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid.

"This guide is the reason we're in so much trouble today. It promotes too many carbs and has contributed to the added girth and increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes."

Neufeld likes a modified Stillman diet, which was developed by Dr. Irwin Stillman and was popular in the 1970s. Basically a modified Atkins diet, the Stillman diet emphasizes lean meats, fruits and vegetables. "If I follow that, I stay between a size 6 and 8, which is where I like to be."

What doesn't work for her is a vegetarian diet. When her youngest daughter chose to become a vegetarian at age 11, the whole family did because it was easier. "While no one became fat, we all added about 10 pounds. I went up to a size 10-plus because I was eating more pasta, rice and cheese."

After eight years, Neufeld went back to eating more lean meats and less starch, and started losing weight.

Personal habits

Diet: For breakfast, she has shredded wheat cereal with soy milk, 4 ounces of orange juice and a multivitamin. Lunch is often tuna mixed with light mayonnaise and wrapped in lettuce leaves, with two pieces of fruit and a bottle of Crystal Lite. She has a handful of nuts in the afternoon, and for dinner fish, chicken or sometimes steak, salad (no potatoes or rice) and fruit for dessert.

Exercise: Gets up at 5 a.m. and goes to the gym. Three times a week she does Stairmaster and weights. Twice a week she takes a combination Spin and yoga class. On the weekend she goes on a 40-minute run.

Weakness: Chocolate. She keeps a stash at home, which she occasionally dips into. She also likes D.D. Reese chocolate chip cookies.

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