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Childhood Obesity Spotlight: Get Tips on How to Reduce Your Child’s Risk & Maintain a Healthy Weight

September 04, 2013 in Article, Exercise & Sports, Nutrition, Tips, Wellness/Prevention,
Posted by Christopher R. Good
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In 2012, a Presidential Proclamation named September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Keep reading to learn how to prevent childhood obesity and create a healthy and happy lifestyle for your child.

An important way to maintain weight for children and adults is by being active.  If the amount of calories consumed and the amount of calories burned are the same, your weigh will remain the same. If you consume more, you will gain weight and likewise, if you burn more than you consume weight loss is highly likely.  In the last 30 years, childhood obesity in children ages two- five has more than doubled. More staggering, it has nearly tripled in children aged six- eleven and MORE than tripled in the 12-19 age set.

Obese Children are at higher risk for developing immediate and long term health effects:

  • More likely to be at risk for high cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • At higher risk for prediabetes, glucose levels indicate a higher risk for developing diabetes
  • Greater risk for bone and joint problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Poor self esteem

Prevention:
There are ways in which you can prevent your child from becoming a statistic. For example, find things to do as a family to become more active, a bike ride, a walk after dinner, etc.  Pack healthy snacks so as not to be tempted by convenience foods that tend to be high in calories and fat. Food portions have continued to increase when dining out, ask for a to-go box before your meal is served and remove excess calories from your plate.
Teaching your child healthy lifestyle habits can provide long-term benefits. Healthy eating is fundamental in a child’s development, especially with the influence of media, society and the food and beverage industries. Look for ways to make healthier versions of your family’s favorite dishes, the key is to reduce weight gain while allowing natural growth and development. Children should not be placed on a restrictive diet without the consultation of a health care provider.

Healthy Eating:

  • Plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains,
  • Protein, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
  • Food low in trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars
  • Calcium rich fat-free or low-fat  milk and dairy products

Click here for a helpful visual aid on food groups that includes foods that you should eat a lot of, in moderation and on rare occasions. (Provided by the National Institute of Health , NIH)

Along with healthy eating, physical activity is not only crucial to a healthy weight but for strong bones. Reduce television/computer time and help your kids stay active with at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on a daily basis.

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