Weight Loss for Kids in Central New York
Obesity Guide for Parents: Start Fighting Childhood Obesity Today
Childhood obesity is far more complicated than simply being overweight. If you’re unaware of childhood obesity facts, it’s time to become familiar with the behaviors and risk factors that can lead children toward a lifetime of physical complications and emotional problems. Childhood obesity rates are on the rise, and it’s up to parents and caretakers to establish healthy choices that can save our children.
Because child obesity is a serious medical condition, it’s important to understand how to identify, reduce, and avoid the causes of childhood obesity. Kids and adolescents who are well above the normal weight range are at risk for problems formerly associated exclusively with adults. The child obesity epidemic has brought diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol into the lives of America’s children.
How Did This Happen?
It’s impossible to blame the childhood obesity epidemic on single cause. Instead, we have to look at a variety of factors that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles and weight gain in children.
Nutrition and Diet
- Families are more likely to eat at restaurants, in the car, and bring home take-out food than in the past.
- Many Children (particularly in inner cities) have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
- Calorie-dense processed foods, such a microwavable and shelf-stable meals, are consumed more frequently, and have lower nutritional value.
- Portion sizes have increased in general, and Americans value quantity vs quality of food.
- Kids at school have access to vending machines with candy, snacks and sodas. Major food and beverage companies pay top dollar to struggling schools to display and vend their goods.
- School lunches are often affected by budget cuts, leading to unhealthier meals.
- Physical education programs, if available at all, are cut significantly and few children walk or bike to school.
- Students are unlikely to learn to prevent childhood obesity in schools through health or nutrition classes as they have been cut due to budgetary constraints.
Community and Media Influences
- Fewer children have access safe parks and recreation areas. Indoor play options are often cost-prohibitive.
- Unhealthy foods, such as sugary cereals and snacks, microwave kids’ meals, and fast food are marketed heavily to children.
- Childhood obesity and technology are linked as children are less likely to engage in physical play.
- Teens are exposed to fad diets and weight loss medications and may favor those options over exercise and nutrition.
- Fewer children eat meals at the table with their families.
- Families do not sit down to dinner any more. Children sometimes eat in front of the t.v. or computer and subsequently take in a larger quantity of calories.
- Lack of supervised meals encourage processed foods, snacks and overeating.
- Families are more likely to adopt a “go, go, go” mentality, increasing stress and limiting time for healthy activity and rest.
With so much working against our children, it’s important to not only define childhood obesity but work together to limit the factors that put kids at risk.