Weight Loss

Weight Loss: Keeping Kids Active - The Fight Against Childhood Obesity

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As the childhood obesity epidemic continues, the issues facing obese children are becoming more and more evident; the risks are real and prevention is easy.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 percent of child and adolescents ages two to 19 years of age are considered obese. Childhood obesity is a very serious health concern facing todayís youth.

Health Risks Facing Obese Children

It goes without saying that obese children will face many more ostacles than their peers when it comes to their health and self-esteem. Without invention, these problems can progress well into adulthood.

Obese children and adolescents are more likely than their peers to experience high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes; all of which are precursors to cardiovascular disease. The CDC found that obese children and adolescents are very likely to overweight as adults. Eighty percent of children who are overweight between the ages of 10 to 15 are found to be obese adults by the time they are just 25 years of age. Children who struggle with obesity are also more likely to experience asthma and sleep apnea than their peers.

Obese children are also likely to face psychological problems. As targets of social discrimination, the psychological stress can cause low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can limit a childís academic and social progress.

Childhood Obesity Prevention

Encourage healthy eating habits. A childís diet should include fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, limited sugar consumption, and limited sugar-sweetened beverages. It is important to serve reasonably sized portions and encourage the consumption of water. While calorie-rich foods are tempting, allow your child to eat them on occasion and try to limit sweet treats to 100 calories or less. Parents also need to remember that children and adolescents are still growing and need to be careful not to infer with normal growth and development. Always contact a healthcare provider before placing a child on a diet.

- Get children involved with the cooking. Let them learn how to prepare a healthy meal and have fun doing it. Healthy cooking skills are skills that can last a life time.

- Stay active. Children and adolescents should get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Physical activity has many benefits including: weight management, stronger bones, decreased blood pressure, increased self-esteem levels, and reduces stress.

- Find fun ways to stay active. If a child enjoys a particular sport or activity, consider joining a team. Walking as a family, jumping rope, playing tag, swimming, dancing, jumping on a trampoline are all great ways to stay active. Use a variety of activities to help eliminate boredom.

- Lead by example. Children look up to adults. If a child is eating healthy, the rest of the family should too. Exercise with a child; itís great for the body and for family time.
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Health and Wellness