How To Save Your Kids From Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a very serious medical issue in the U.S., with figures varying from 19% to 38% in children aged 10–17 in the different states. Worldwide, there are more than 124 million children who are obese. This staggering statistic is more than a tenfold rise in the last four decades across the globe. There are a few obvious reasons as to the cause of this increase in childhood obesity – but firstly, what does being obese mean? Obesity is when the body has excess body fat and with regards to children, when height and weight are not changing proportionately. This is usually due to a calorie surplus in the diet and research has shown that portion size increase in the last 20 years could be the culprit. It is so easy to ‘go large’ for a small extra charge; these offers normally seem too good to refuse, resulting in the saying ‘everything in moderation’ being thrown out the window.
It is said that genetics can also play a part in causing childhood obesity, so if you find that you as a parent are obese yourself, that could be an explanation for your child also being overweight. Of course, lack of exercise and an unhealthy and unbalanced diet can also be to blame in addition to rarer medical factors, such as hormonal imbalances. Nowadays, where children have their own smartphones and being in a sedentary state in front of a computer or TV screen is the norm, it should come as no surprise that obesity rates have not improved. Diagnosing the root of the problem can not only ensure that your child maintains a healthy weight, but also prevent any future health issues from coming up.
We all know that being obese can contribute to a number of health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as asthma, and joint problems. It can be distressing for an adult to experience these conditions, so for a child it could be even worse, as their bodies have not fully developed. Plus, being overweight can only worsen self-esteem and confidence issues they may already have. In other words, psychological problems as well as physical health problems may occur.
Research has shown that children who are obese can transition into adulthood staying the same way. This can introduce a host of problems that can affect everyday life, and even simple tasks such as walking can become difficult. If this is the case, there is the option of applying for a handicap parking permit, which will allow the holder to park their vehicle closer to the entrance of their destination. Every state has their own criteria and obtaining a medical professional’s confirmation on the application form will be essential. Once this has been completed, it will enable the holder to use a disabled parking space.
The ideal way to deal with childhood obesity is to prevent it from happening in the first place. However, with eating habits changing and the rise in cheap processed foods increasing, it is easy to understand how weight gain is prevalent, especially in developed countries. There are various ways you can save your kids from childhood obesity, though. Sports and physical activity can be fun and exciting ways to ensure that your children are moving enough. Team sports in particular, such as football, basketball, or baseball, can also improve their confidence and communication skills. Even just getting off the school bus one stop early to walk can be a good start. In addition to this, eating a well-balanced diet is important and not only helps with physical health, but can affect mental health, too. Speaking to your doctor or a qualified nutritionist could be beneficial, especially if your child is a fussy eater. A fun idea is to get your kids to help in the kitchen with making their own food, and making small changes as opposed to drastic ones can be a recipe for success. For instance, substituting junk food for healthy options such as fruits, nuts, and home-made treats where you can use healthier alternative ingredients. Ensure healthier eating habits such as providing smaller portions and drinking lots of water also goes hand-in-hand with a balanced diet. Helping your children learn about the importance of being physically active and eating nutritious foods will aid in getting to a healthy weight. Reducing sedentary time would also be beneficial, as TV, video games, and the internet can be addictive, resulting in less physical activity. Reading books, playing board games, or playing outdoors are good alternative ways to move your child away from the screens while also improving their social skills.
Overall, although the recent figures for childhood obesity make it a serious problem, there are various ways that parents can help – from keeping their kids active to encouraging healthy eating options. It may be difficult at first, as habits can be hard to break out of, but with perseverance and a bit of patience, your child’s health and wellbeing can be improved for the long term.