The prevalence of obesity (BMI 30) continues to be a health concern for adults, children and adolescents in the United States. Data from the most recent NHANES survey 1 shows that among adult men the prevalence of obesity was 31.1% in 2003-2004, and 33.3% in 2005-2006, a small but not statistically significant change. Among adult women, the prevalence of obesity in 2003-2004 was 33.2%, and in 2005-2006 was 35.3%, again a small but not significant change.
Another recent NHANES survey2 found that obesity prevale among children and adolescents showed no significant changes between 2003-2004 and 2005-2006. Based on the study, in the combined years of 2003-2006, 16.3% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were obese, at or above the 95th percentile of the 2000 BMI-for-age growth charts.
This rate of obesity raises concern because of its implications for the health of Americans. Obesity increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions. These include-
* Coronary heart disease
* Type 2 diabetes
* Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
* Hypertension (high blood pressure)
* Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
* Liver and Gallbladder disease
* Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
* Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
* Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
Two of the Healthy People 2010 national health objectives3 are (1) to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults to less than 15% and (2) to reduce the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents to less than 5%.
Healthy weight is not a diet: It is a lifestyle.
Whether you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it's important to understand the connection between the energy your body takes in (through the foods you eat and the beverages you drink) and the energy your body uses (through the activities you do) .
1. Aerobic Activity
Aerobic activity should make up most of your child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigor-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vivid-intensity aerobic activity at at least 3 days per week.
2. Muscle Strengthening
Include muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
3. Bone Strengthening
Include bone-strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
How do I know if my child's aerobic activity is moderate or vital intensity?
Here are two ways to think about moderate- and vigor-intensity:
1. As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. When your son does moderate-intensity activity, his heart will beat faster than normal and he will breathe harder than normal. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your son does vigorous-intensity activity, his heart will beat much faster than normal and he will breathe much harder than normal.
2. Another way to judge intensity is to think about the activity your child is doing and compare it to the average child. What amount of intensity would the average child use? For example, when your daughter walks to school with friends each morning, she's probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while she is at school, when she runs, or chases others by playing tag during recess, she's probably doing vicious-intensity activity.
Some physical activity is better suited for children than adolescents. For example, children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually usually strengthen their muscles when they play on a jungle gym or climb trees. Make sure you pick a curriculum that includes a variety of age specific activities and games that will develop their martial arts skills as well as strengthen their growing muscles! It can be frustrating to get in the right amount of activities that are age appropriate and in a structured environment. It is possible for your children to stay active and live a fit and healthy lifestyle.