Fighting Childhood Obesity
One of the biggest problems in America right now is not the housing decline, the stock market or even poor unemployment numbers. The biggest problem we have currently in America has to be childhood obesity. The rest of the world calls Americans fat, lazy and entitled. After winning more medals in the 2012 London Olympic Games it makes it hard to think that the rest of the world would continue to think this about our great country. However one quick lap through an elementary school and you understand what these naysayers are talking about.
The American Heart Association said that today about one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Childhood obesity is now the number one health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking that people traditionally associate with childhood health risks.
A ground breaking study, which studied 8,550 four year-olds from all areas around the United States, found that children who had dinner with their families more than 5 times per week, slept for at least 10.5 hours a night, and watched less than two hours of TV a day were 40 % less likely to be obese than children who did none of those things. This comes to no surprise to most people in the health and fitness industry.
It’s very important for young children to get into the habit of eating healthy, getting enough rest per night and being active. These learned activities at a young age will result in lower risk of becoming over weight when you they are an adult.
Households were more likely to practice all three if they were Caucasian, or if they were apart of a two-parent family, if the mother was not over weight and if the mother had a bachelor's degree, or if the household income was higher than $50,000.00 per year.
The fact is obesity is causing a lot of serious health problems that were thought to be only concerns in adults. High blood pressure, diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels are just some of the issues that young children are now experiencing. There are also effects that go deeper than physical problems. Obese children are more likely to have low self-esteem, negative body image and depression in a recent exercise study.
In an interview with @KourtniMietchen a Junior Elementary education student at Dixie State College said “Sometime kids don’t know they are overweight, parents need to take a proactive role in their child weight management. By allowing children to become overweight parents are exposing their children to health problems but physically and emotionally now and in the future.”
How to help you child become fit.
Clearly there are many reasons to help you child become more fit. While there are factors that play into a child’s weight, you can take steps to improving the health of your child. Just because you family might not fit into cookie cutter outline that the above study indicates this doesn’t mean you can’t help your child get into shape.
- Cutting down on calories is one of the first things you should do to help your child get into shape and nip childhood obesity in the butt. One thing to remember is that restricting a child’s diet and favorite foods too much can actually back fire. Snacks and sweets should be a treat and not eaten in excess.
- Becoming more active is a great way to allow your child to have fun while they lsoe those extra pounds. Help your child get active by playing games outside as a family, involving them in athletics or even organizing neighborhood outside games that get everyone running around and having fun.
- If you have more than one child but only one is overweight don’t single out the overweight child. Allow the whole family to start eating healthier and exercising together.
- Turn off all TV’s, computers and video games at a certain time each night. This will allow you to control the amount of sitting time your family does each night. Playing interactive video games like Wii or XBOX games that allow you to move a lot when playing the game is a fun way to burn calories and to bond as a family.
Helping your children stay fit or to get healthier is one of the most important things that a parent can do. While childhood obesity is on the rise it’s more important even that parents take a more active role in their kids’ lives to ensure that they don’t become overweight have health problems later in life.
About the Author
Ryan Mayfield recently graduated from a local university with his BA in Mass Communication. Ryan enjoys spending time with his family, friends and writing about subjects such as sleep, exercise and health related topics.