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This month's tips focuses on the troubling topic of obesity with tips for parents to help children consume a diet that will keep them healthy and within the weight range for their age and height
You have probably read about obesity in newspapers and seen it on the news. In the United States, the number of obese children and teens has continued to rise over the past two decades. As parents or other concerned adults, we may also ask what steps can be taken to help prevent obesity in our children? This page provides answers to some of the questions you may have and provides you with resources to help you keep your family healthy.
Doctors and scientists are concerned about the rise of obesity in children and youth because obesity may lead to the following health problems:
Childhood obesity is associated with various health-related harmful consequences. Obese children and adolescents may experience immediate health consequences and may be at risk for weight-related health problems in adulthood.
Some consequences of childhood and adolescent overweight are psychosocial. Obese children and adolescents are targets of early and systematic social discrimination. The psychological stress of social stigmatization can cause low self-esteem which, in turn, can hinder academic and social functioning, and persist into adulthood.
Obese children & teens have been found to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, & abnormal glucose tolerance. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-old, almost 60% of overweight children had at least one CVD risk factor while 25 percent of overweight children had two or more CVD risk factors.
Less common health conditions associated with increased weight include asthma, hepatic steatosis, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes.
In addition, studies have shown that obese children and teens are more likely to become obese as adults. What can parents or guardians do to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity?
To help your child maintain a healthy weight, balance the calories your child consumes from foods and beverages with the calories your child uses through physical activity and normal growth.
Remember that the goal for overweight and obese children and teens is to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Children and teens should NOT be placed on a weight reduction diet without the consultation of a health care provider.
One part of balancing calories is to eat foods that provide adequate nutrition and an appropriate number of calories. You can help children learn to be aware of what they eat by developing healthy eating habits, looking for ways to make favorite dishes healthier, and reducing calorie-rich temptations.
There's no great secret to healthy eating. To help your children and family develop healthy eating habits:
Remember that small changes every day can lead to a recipe for success. For more information about nutrition, visit Finding Your Way to a Healthier You: Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The recipes that you may prepare regularly, and that your family enjoys, with just a few changes can be healthier and just as satisfying. For new ideas about how to add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet check out the recipe database from Fruits and Veggies Matter. This database enables you to find tasty fruit and vegetable recipes that fit your needs.
Although everything can be enjoyed in moderation, reducing the calorie-rich temptations of high-fat and high-sugar, or salty snacks can also help your children develop healthy eating habits. Instead, only allow your children to eat them sometimes, so that they truly will be treats! Here are examples of easy-to-prepare, low-fat and low-sugar treats that are 100 calories or less:
Another part of balancing calories is to engage in an appropriate amount of physical activity and avoid too much sedentary time. In addition to being fun for children and teens, regular physical activity has many health benefits, including:
Children and teens should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily. Remember that children imitate adults. Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you. Some examples of moderate intensity physical activity include:
In addition to encouraging physical activity, help children avoid too much sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day.
Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television viewing for children age 2 or younger. Instead, encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity.
Here are some additional resources that you (and your child) can use to help reach or keep a healthy weight through physical activity & healthy food choices!
Worried about your child's weight? For children, BMI is used to screen for overweight, but is not a diagnostic tool. For more, see About BMI for Children and Teens.
This Web site provides information about childhood overweight, including how overweight is defined for children, the prevalence of overweight, the factors associated with overweight, and the related health consequences.
Provides information about physical activity for you and your children.
Great recipes and information about how to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your daily meals.
Confused about portion sizes? Play the CDC's portion control game! Click on the link above.
Provides a tailored explanation of how to balance your meals & includes an interactive game for kids.http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
This national education program is designed for parents and caregivers to help children 8-13 years old stay at a healthy weight. you may find useful information at A Family Resource that will be useful for parents and guardians to help their children and families eat healthy, increase physical activity, and decrease screen time.
I do hope the information presented here by the Centers for Disease Control has been timely and of value to you. For any questions or comments please do use the link below.
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