In the United States, it is considered a gross understatement to say that childhood obesity is becoming a huge problem over the past decades. In a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity is the fastest growing health problem in the United States. The problem has continued to balloon over the past 30 years. Obesity is at its highest in children ages 6 – 11 years old. CDC estimated that more than 33% of children aged 2 – 19 are overweight or obese.
The Problem With Obesity
There are numerous health implications for a child who is overweight/obese. This problem can result in issues in their physical, mental, social, emotional, and developmental health. The rise in obesity may lead to the following:
- Heart diseases due to high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
- Bone and Joint Problems
- Certain Types of Cancer
- Social Discrimination
Aside from the myriad of metabolic diseases, obesity and being overweight may also mean that your child may experience low self-esteem, poor self-image, and a tendency to experience withdrawal from others. For example, kids who grow up obese are most likely to become easily fatigued, which would limit their social activities.
Tips for Parents
Parents play a huge role in childhood obesity because they have the main responsibility of taking care of their children and making decisions that impact their overall health.
Set A Good Example
Parents and caregivers should set healthy lifestyle choices that kids can follow. You can start by eating healthy and staying active, you can then encourage your kids to do the same. Food choices can make a lot of difference, for example, swapping fruits instead of chips. You can also lead certain activities for your kids, for example, you can create a weekend family time by hiking or trying out sports.
Educate Your Kids On The Effect Of Obesity
One of the most important things to do is to educate your children on the implications of being overweight or obese. Kids will be able to remember these health effects especially when you are not around to monitor what they are doing.
Encourage Proper Nutrition
When it comes to metabolic diseases more than 80% of the problem has to do with the food that you eat. As parents, you have a lot to do with the choices that your children make. To lessen their exposure to unhealthy food, start by changing your shopping habits. When doing the groceries, plan your meals ahead of time. Buy only foods that are healthy and wholesome.
Try to spend as much time as possible in preparing healthy meals at home, this will reduce your expenses and your waistline at the same time. Generally, school’s cafeterias do not provide a healthy selection of food for your kids. You can make changes by encouraging them to bring their own lunch. Include vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds in their lunch or encourage them to choose these items to snack on.
Encourage Active Play
Another major reason why kids develop obesity is because of the lack of activities that make them fit physically. Children today live a more sedentary lifestyle compared to kids 50 years ago. Encourage your children to put down their electronic gadgets and go outside for a walk, go to the playground, walk the dog, join sports, or ride their bikes. You can also encourage other children in the community to join, this way you will build a healthier family and community at the same time.
A vast majority of children who are obese or overweight at a young age tend to carry those bad habits into their adult life. Parents there are a lot of things that you can do to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle. Start with your family today and help prevent childhood obesity.