independent

Friday 17 November 2017

Graig family overhaul their lifestyle after television show

Laura and John McKeever and their four children, Cillian (6), Abi (9), TJ is (2) and baby Owen who is 13 months old
Laura and John McKeever and their four children, Cillian (6), Abi (9), TJ is (2) and baby Owen who is 13 months old

Esther Hayden

A Graiguenamanagh family featured in last Wednesday's episode of Doctor in the House.

The TV3 show features a team of medical experts who visit a number of households and inspect unhealthy lifestyles that have led to a national health crisis.

In last Wednesday's episode the public were introduced to the meet McKeever family, who's health is spiralling out of control due to a poor diet.

Mum Laura (28) and Dad John (34) live in, Friar's Hill, Graiguenamanagh and have four children, Cillian is six, Abi is nine, TJ is two and baby Owen is 13 months old.

The McKeevers are a very young and busy family who have got into extremely bad food habits. As well as a startling absence of fruit and vegetables in their diet - dad of four John drinks alcohol on a daily basis and smokes 60 cigarettes a day, spending over €15,000 per year on both.

Laura is already at serious risk of heart disease and her son Cillian is anaemic which causes problems for his heart. Dad John is effectively killing himself on cigarettes and booze.

In the show the four experts, Dr Nina Byrnes, Dr Sinead Beirne, Professor Niall Moyna and the new addition to the series; Nutritionist Daniel Davey, were astounded as Laura prepared the baby's bottle and Dr Nina Byrne asked incredulously 'Did she just put sugar in the baby's bottle? And he's not even a baby!'

It went from bad to worse with dad John enjoying a breakfast of coffee and a few fags, six year old Abi gorging on a breakfast of deep fried chicken from a garage deli at 8am and Laura filling the kids' lunch boxes with chocolate bars, Ribena and garage made deli sandwiches.

The day culminated with Laura serving the children a dinner of chicken fingers and waffles in bed!

The doctors then followed the family around for one day, observing their diet and lifestyle. Dr Nina Byrnes noticed their shopping trolley did not contain one healthy piece of food, everything they buy is processed.

Cillian stays in his room for four hours from when he arrived home from school prompting Dr Nina to say 'The food is actually a secondary part to a family dinner, it's about engaging with the family and knowing what's going on in each other's lives'.

Dr Sinead Beirne observed the family and noted there is only one vegetable in the fridge, a turnip next to an eight pack of beer. She found two soft apples stuffed at the top of the fridge commentating 'They're proving unpopular in this house'.

After being monitored, screened and assessed, the news that was delivered to the McKeevers was shocking. Professor Niall Moyna who does testing said: 'Their health is certainly spiralling out of control, so they need to take a look at their overall lifestyle and make drastic changes'

Twenty-eight-year old Laura found out that her bad cholesterol is high and she has low levels of Vitamin B12, which puts her at risk of heart disease. She was also in the bottom 5 per cent of fitness for someone of her age.

John learnt that despite a high fitness level, he has a fatty liver and his triglycerides are through the roof, his body fat is 31 per cent - which should be 12-15 per cent for someone of his age. John is also spending over €15,000 on cigarettes and alcohol a year 'to effectively kill yourself' said Dr. Nina Byrnes.

As a direct result of his poor diet the parents are told that six year old Cillian is anaemic which is putting his heart under stress.

The four experts came up with a plan and over the following eight weeks the family worked hard to improve their lifestyle before they were re-tested to see if the change in their lifestyle has made an impact to their long-term health.

After the re-tests dad John had made great strides having given up cigarettes and alcohol as well as dropping nine pounds and reducing his body fat levels.

Laura had also quit the cigarettes but unfortunately failed to reduce her body fat having focused more on the rest of the family rather than herself during the eight weeks. However she had taken up a fitness class and was feeling more energised.

All four of the McKeever children saw improvements in their diets with the addition of fruit, vegetables and homemade meals rather than processed foods.

New Ross Standard

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