Childhood obesity is defined as weight being well above normal for the child age and height. It is one of our nations leading health threats. Today about 25 million children ages 2-19 in this country are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. According to the Nemours Foundation, approximately one of three children can be classified as overweight or obese.
Numerous environmental factors have contributed to the increase in childhood obesity, including urban sprawl, availability of junk food, growing portion sizes, lack of safe play areas, and the increasing popularity of television, video games, and computer use.
Overweight children are twice as likely to be obese when they grow up than children who are not overweight. This means that in adulthood, they will be at an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and certain cancers. Depression, along with other psychological disorders occurs with increased frequency in obese children.
Kids and teens that are over weight usually do not have the right knowledge on to how to carry on the best lifestyle possible. Talk to your kids directly, openly and without being critical or judgmental. Here are some suggestions on how to help your child get healthy and lean:
Added Physical Activity
Children with lack of parental limitations on television watching and their parents own television viewing habits, were five to ten times more likely to be overweight. Encourage your child to participate in team sports, individual sports, and-or recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming or just playground activities instead of giving them TV and computer use for the rest of the day.
One study showed only about a quarter of kids has physical education class at school. You can increase a childs physical activity by encouraging him to walk or ride his bike to school accompanied by an adult. Demonstrate the importance of physical activity by walking or biking with him.
Encourage healthier eating
A lot of what we eat is quick and easy. We eat more snacks, eat on the run, and eat larger portions from fat-laden fast food to microwave and prepackaged meals. However, treating and preventing obesity among children should involve the whole family.
Children should be allowed to select what they want to eat among healthy food choices; they should be allowed to stop eating when they feel full. An underweight, overweight, or normal weight child should be allowed to decide how much to eat or whether to eat at all, within reason. Children and adolescents who frequent fast foods consume more calories, unhealthy fats, sugars and carbohydrates. Many studies have established the dangers of fast food items to childrens health. Cut back or stop going to fast food places
Even if a parent is faced with a child with a weight problem, a child should never be placed on an extremely restrictive diet or prevent them from eating when hungry. A child needs nutrients and calories to help them develop and grow. Consult a pediatrician if you find that you cannot help your child lose weight with a nutritious eating plan and physical activity.
Emotions also play a major role in childhood obesity, as emotional eating sabotages many weight loss efforts. Children may also have a hard time giving up their junk food snacks. Obese children need not eat less, but learn to eat differently. Help them eat the right foods, in the right combinations, at the right times, healthy eating is balanced eating, including varied and nutritionally dense food choices.
Prevention can be looked at as a cure, if it is implemented and if there is effective communication. Environmental and social factors, genetics, illnesses, and medications do not necessarily cause a child to be overweight. Rather, they are risk factors, because they do not guarantee that a child will be obese. The most important thing is to focus on changing things we can control, such as behavior (the old exercise and diet advice).
Laimis Energy offers programs in weight loss for women and children, endurance and strength training, group and 1-on-1 training exercises. Family membership plans are also available.
If you have questions about nutrition for kids or specific concerns about your child’s diet, talk to your child’s doctor or a registered dietitian.