Understanding and Preventing Child Obesity

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“Obesity” is a condition of excess body fat, which puts a child at increased risk for developing heart disease, Type II diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and asthma.

Facts:

Did you know that more than 60% of American youth eat too many fatty foods, and less than 20% eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. From 25-40 percent of children inherit the tendency towards overweight. While children’s fat consumption has decreased over the past several decades from 40 percent to 34 percent, their rate of obesity has risen from 12 percent in 1991 to as much as 30.5 percent today. One reason: children have increased the amount of calories they eat each day by as many as 300.

Causes:

Family genetics and history plays a significant part in whether your child will develop a serious weight problem. If you come from a family of heavy people, and high-calorie food is readily available yet exercise is not, your children are likely to become overweight. Highly processed, high-calorie meals and fast foods have become staples of the typical Western diet. Poor nutrition spells weight gain.

Eating habits have also changed drastically: family meals have often been replaced by munching continuously throughout the day. Cookies, chips and other high-calorie snack foods are readily available for children to fill up on.

As a result of Obesity:

Many obese children have behavior and learning problems. Overweight children tend to have more anxiety and poorer social skills than normal weight children. At one extreme, these problems may lead to acting out and disrupting the classroom. At the other, they may cause social withdrawal. Stress and anxiety also interfere with learning. School-related anxiety can create a vicious cycle in which ever-growing worry fuels ever-declining academic performance. Obesity is associated with increased risk for a number of dangerous medical conditions, including heart disease, cancer, gallstones, high blood pressure, diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders.

What to do?

Exercises like brisk walking, jogging, and playing out door games help to reduce weight. Focusing on good health and nutrition, not a certain weight goal. Try to teach and model healthy and positive attitudes toward food and physical activity without emphasizing body weight.

Take a good look at what is consumed in your children’s day and see how you can encourage healthier eating. It is important to discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV because eating in front of the TV will make it difficult for a child to pay attention to feelings of fullness and may lead to overeating.

Provide opportunities to help your child develop positive attitudes about healthy foods and learn appropriate eating patterns, mealtime behavior, and communication skills. If you encourage children to eat slowly they will fell full sooner.

Do not use food as punishment or reward, instead be a role model by setting a good example for children to follow by demonstrating healthy eating behaviors and an active lifestyle. Determine the type of physical activity that suits your child’s life style and continuously encourage physical activity. Limit high sugar and fat foods without being overly restrictive.

In conclusion:

If you have a child that is considered obese or is getting there please take steps now to reverse or stop it. Getting involved early will have a lasting impression on your child’s well being. Also, this will give you a good opportunity to examine your own health condition.

Before making any changes to your child’s diet please consult a professional.



Source by Dennis Watson