PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COULD HELP REDUCE WEIGHT, EVEN FOR INDIVIDUALS GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TOWARD OBESITY, ACCORDING TO A STUDY PUBLISHED IN PLOS GENETICS.
Children who are obese are above the normal weight for their age and height. Today, about one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese; nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and elevated blood cholesterol levels.
The excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. Many obese children become obese adults, especially if one or both parents are obese.
If you’re worried that your child is putting on too much weight, talk to his or her doctor and start a program that will treat and prevent obesity, and will help your child live a long, healthy life.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS:
CAUSES OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY:
Lifestyle issues – too little activity and too many calories from food and drinks – are the main culprits of childhood obesity in the US.
Whether your child is at risk of becoming overweight or is currently at a healthy weight, you can take measures to get or keep things on the right track. Good habits established in childhood help adolescents maintain healthy weights despite the hormonal changes, rapid growth and social influences that often lead to overeating. And active children are more likely to become fit adults.
MAKE IT A FAMILY ISSUE.
One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to help your children understand the benefits of being physically active. A critical part of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, especially for children, is physical activity. It burns calories, strengthens bones and muscles, and helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during the day. Talking about the health and habits of the entire family together as a team will create a supportive environment and keep individual children from feeling targeted.
ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING HABITS
REDUCE SEDENTARY TIME
Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit “screen time” (TV, video games, Internet, smartphones) to no more than two hours a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children younger than 18 months should avoid all screen time, except for video-chatting with family and friends. For older preschoolers, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programming.
SCHEDULE YEARLY DOCTOR VISITS
Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect your child’s health now and in the future. Be sure your child sees the doctor for well-child checkups at least once a year. During this visit, your child’s doctor will measure your child’s history of growth and development, your family’s weight-for-height history, where your child lands on the growth charts, and their Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI provides a guideline of weight in relation to height, and is the accepted measure of overweight and obesity. An increase in your child’s BMI or in his or her percentile rank over one year is a possible sign that your child is at risk of becoming overweight.
The American Heart Association: