In recognition of Childhood Obesity month Body Xchange would like to share some information to bring awareness to some of the risks and also provide a helpful guide that may assist children of all ages to lead a healthier lifestyle.
A full 17 percent of children in this country has already passed the stage known as pleasingly plump and arrived at what most medical professionals view as a serious medical condition.
We know that childhood obesity can lead to higher risk of:
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Disorders of the joints and bones.
- Sleep apnea.
- Heart disease.
- High cholesterol.
- Elevated blood pressure.
Childhood obesity can also lead to emotional problems. It goes without saying that the overweight child has a far greater likelihood of being bullied both in and out of the classroom setting. This sort of ostracism can lower a child’s self-esteem while causing depression and similar mental-health problems, often leading to a vicious cycle in which the child will overeat for comfort and pack on even more weight as a result.
Furthermore, the obese child is far more likely to morph into an obese adult. When this happens, you can add a greater likelihood of developing cancer to all the other medical conditions for which he has been at risk since first becoming overweight in childhood.
How Children Become Obese
Many people have noticed that seriously corpulent children usually come from families in which most of the adults are also overweight. While some of the problem is traceable to genetics and inherited metabolism, the general household environment will also play a role. Such families may routinely overeat and spend their working or leisure time engaging in non-physical, couch-potato activities. To make matters worse, the surrounding environment may offer little opportunity to engage in exercise.
Overall, the obese child is likely to:
- Prefer fatty and sugary snacks to healthy foods.
- Spend too much time at the computer or in front of a television set.
- Get an insufficient amount of sleep.
- Have little opportunity to play outside with friends.
For whatever reason or combination of factors, the child who becomes and remains obese is headed toward a stubborn lifelong problem. If the child is question is one of your own, however, there are a few things that you can do to help.
How You as a Parent Can Prevent Childhood Obesity
If charity begins at home, so does a healthy lifestyle. Keeping your child at a proper weight is part of keeping him healthy. To help the overweight child reach an optimal weight and maintain it over the long haul, you should try to:
– Learn the optimal weight for your child’s height and age.
– Screen your child for potential problems with the aid of the CDC’s Child and Teen BMI Calculator.
– Restrict the child’s access to high-fat and sugary foods, offering fruits and vegetables instead.
– If your youngster complains of thirst, present a tall, cool glass of water in place of a sugary soft drink or fattening fruit juice.
– Encourage your child to get off the couch and go outside to play. Organized sports present a fantastic means of getting in shape both physically and mentally.
– Sedentary adults lead to sedentary children. By getting and staying in shape yourself, you will serve as a valued role model for your child.
How Physical Activity Will Combat Childhood Obesity
In most cases, the healthy child will get that way by moving. At least one hour of outside play each day is an essential part of that. So is the opportunity to break a sweat through vigorous activity for 20 minutes or more at least three times a week. If you can find a gym that accepts children, sign your child up for a fitness or gymnastics program. It’s a wonderful way to help your child attain the ultimate in physical and mental health.
When nearly 13 million children across the United States are already over their optimal weight, the situation amounts to a public health crisis. The goal of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is to encourage health care professionals, schools, neighborhoods and community groups to provide children with clean drinking water, healthy foods and opportunities to engage in fat-blasting physical activities. The fight against childhood obesity may start at home, but when the community also plays a role, chances of winning the war can’t help but exponentially increase.