Gaining too much weight during brain tumour treatment

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In-depth information concerning the issues that may arise for your child if he gains too much weight as a side effect of his brain tumour treatment.

Key points

  • Children with brain tumours may gain weight due to steroid use, tumour type, hypothyroidism.
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight by being as active as possible and establish healthy eating patterns.

A number of factors can cause weight gain in children with brain tumours:

  • Steroid use: some of the weight gained is caused by water retention, which will be lost when steroid use is stopped.
  • The treatment or type of tumour: children with a tumour located near the hypothalamus may develop uncontrollable appetites. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that controls eating and appetite.
  • Untreated or undiagnosed hypothyroidism: low levels of thyroid hormones cause the body's metabolism to slow down.

To try to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, the following guidelines may be helpful for children aged two to 18 years.

  • Be active.
  • Establish healthy eating patterns.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Feel good about yourself.

Be active

  • Try to be active every season of the year.
  • Choose different activities you enjoy.
  • Limit TV and computer time.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV.

Establish healthy eating patterns

  • Eat three meals a day. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • If you are hungry between meals, eat healthy snacks.
  • Eat slowly.
  • See Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating.
  • Avoid drinking pop or juice as they provide empty calories.
  • Eat at home more often.
  • Limit intake of take-out food.
Last updated: August 14th 2009