Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.” Affecting more than 12 million children and adolescents nationwide, obesity is causing our youth to have health issues that were once only seen in adults. Things like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes are becoming more common childhood diagnoses. The good news is that childhood obesity is preventable. Here is some food for thought: A C C O R D I N G TO T H E
NUGGETS AND FRIES AND SODA, OH MY! Let us not forget the expression “Monkey See, Monkey Do.” Children learn at a very early age to mimic their parents’ health-related behaviors. In fact, says the CDC, “in a family with one overweight parent, the child has a 40% chance of becoming overweight. If both parents are overweight, the risk increases to 80%, compared with 7% in a family in which neither parent is overweight.” EASIER SAID THAN DONE Parents know they need to incorporate more fruits and veggies, but the kids are not always so willing. However, children enjoy experiences—different colors, tastes, textures—so explore creative ways to engage your children in food preparation. For example, have a cooking contest where the children can prepare and present their dish, explaining health beneﬁts and nutrients in doing so. Also, teach children how to read food labels and how to decipher the appropriate information.
MOVE IT OR LOSE IT The CDC suggests that children and teens should have one hour of moderate exercise daily, and this is good news for the entire family. Plan walks around the neighborhood after dinner; toss the ball around the backyard; take family hikes on the weekend or take up a group sport like tennis or golf. TECHNO-TIME With all the technological distractions these days, it’s a wonder kids get any exercise at all. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parents limit leisure time in front of electronic devices (including television) to two hours per day. Let the eye-rolling begin! COME TOGETHER Childhood obesity is a nationwide epidemic; communities must come together to promote and encourage healthy living as a whole. Ask yourself these questions: Does the design of our neighborhood encourage physical activity? Are there recreation facilities in the area that are affordable and safe? Are healthy and affordable food choices available in our schools, day care centers, local stores, and at community events? w
For more information on childhood obesity, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.
November 2019 Lake Norman Woman Magazine