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How To Fight Childhood Obesity
Today, 12.5 million children are overweight in the United States and more than 17 percent. Overweight children are at greater risk for many serious health problems.That’s why it has become so important to fight childhood obesity.Obese children can develop serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, often carrying these conditions into an obese adulthood.
Overweight children are at higher risk of developing:Type 2 diabetes, Metabolic syndrome, High blood pressure, Asthma and other respiratory problems, Sleep disorders, Liver disease, Early puberty or menarche, Eating disorders, Skin infections, and The social and emotional challenges that can cause severe depression or low self-esteem due to social isolation.
In fact, Children often tease or bully their overweight peers causing an increased risk of depression as a result. Then this can be directly related to learning problems. Overweight children tend to have more anxiety and poorer social skills than normal-weight children have. These problems may lead to acting out and disrupting the classroom. Also, they may cause social withdrawal. Stress and anxiety interfere with learning.
School-related anxiety can create a vicious cycle in which ever-growing worry fuels ever-declining academic performance. This is just one more reason to fight childhood obesity.
How do you fight childhood obesity? Treatment for childhood obesity is based on the childs age and if he/she has any other medical conditions. Treatment will usually include changes in the childs diet and the level of physical activity for your child. Sometimes, treatment may include medications and/or weight-loss surgery.
For a child under 7 years old who has no other health concerns, the goal of treatment may be weight maintenance rather than weight loss. This strategy allows the child to add inches but not pounds. But, for an obese child, maintaining weight while waiting to grow taller may be as difficult as losing weight for older people.
Weight loss is typically recommended for children over age 7 or for younger children who have related health concerns. A childs weight loss should be slow and steady ,anywhere from 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) a week to 1 pound a month, depending on the childs situation.
The methods a child would use for fighting obesity or losing weight are the same:
1. The child needs to eat a healthy diet.
The parents are the ones who buy the food, cook the food and decide where the food is eaten. Small changes can make a big difference in the childs health. When a parent is buying groceries, they choose fruits and vegetables over convenience foods that are high in sugar and fat. They should have healthy snacks available. Never use food as a reward or punishment. Sweetened beverages should be limited, even those containing fruit juice. These drinks provide little nutritional value in exchange for their high calories. They can also can make the child feel too full to eat healthier foods. Sit down together for family meals. Discourage eating in front of a screen. This leads to fast eating and lowers the awareness of how much you’re eating. Limit the number of times you eat out, especially at fast-food restaurants.
2. The child needs to increase his/her physical activity.
A critical component of weight loss, especially for a child, is physical activity. It burns calories and also builds strong bones and muscles. It helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during the day. If these habits are established in childhood, it will help adolescents maintain healthy weight despite the hormonal changes, rapid growth, and social influences that can often lead to overeating. An active child is more likely to become a fit adult.
Another way to fight childhood obesity is to increase your childs activity level:
Limit recreational screen time to fewer than two hours a day. A sure way to increase your childs activity level is to limit the number of hours he/she is allowed to watch television each day. A parent should emphasize activity, not exercise. The child’s activity doesn’t have to be a structured exercise program – the object is just to get him or her moving. Free-play activities, such as playing hide-and-seek, tag or jump-rope, can be great for burning calories and improving fitness. A parent can find activities the child likes to do. Maybe the child likes to go on nature hikes. The child can collect leaves and rocks to make a collage. If the child likes to climb, go to the nearest neighborhood jungle gym or climbing wall. If the child likes to read, then walk or bike to the neighborhood library to check out a book.
If you want an active child, then you need to be active yourself. Find fun activities that the whole family can do together. Never make exercise seem like a punishment or a chore. Let each child take a turn choosing the activity for that day. This is how you will fight childhood obesity.
The childs Success depends a lot on the parents commitment to helping the child make these changes.These are just some of the many ways on how to fight childhood obesity.
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