To first prevent childhood obesity, one must first know what child obesity is. Child obesity is an overweight or obese child…pretty simple, right? But did you know that childhood obesity can lead to medical problems to include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes later in life? In addition to medical issues, it can lead to several psychological issues including low self-esteem, depression, and possibly lead to bullying and suicide.
What causes obesity in children? Several things can cause children to become overweight including lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating, genetics, or a combination of all these. A medical exam and blood test can rule out medical issues. But between all of these, the lack of activity and poor nutrition is what causes most children to become obese.
So how do you know if your child is overweight? Well sometimes it is obvious just by looking. Other times child obesity may be wrote off as “husky” or being built like “X” family member. If you are not sure measuring your child’s body mass index (BMI) is a good way to find out. The results of the BMI will be compared to standard values and will give you an idea of where your child is on the scale. Although BMI is a good tool to use, it is not 100%. Your child’s growth patterns, muscle development, and age can all give false readings. That is why it is best to have a professional evaluate your child if you are not sure.
How can you help your overweight child? First off address the issue directly with them in a supportive fashion. Do not put them down or be critical of why or what made them obese. Gradually start changing their diet and activity level. Make sure you have good healthy foods and snacks available to your child. If your child likes video games, make him earn the playing time by doing some type of physical activity. Encourage them to get out and walk…by walking with them. Pass a football, play kickball, tag, kick the can, sign them up for a recreational sport, whatever you can do to get them moving. If you make physical activity fun your child is more likely to stay active.
Now take a look at yourself. Are your children following in the footsteps of their parents? Are you providing and teaching unhealthy habits? Now is the time teach them proper nutrition and activity levels by being fit and healthy yourself!
Matt Nicley APS,CFT,SDI 937-829-1595 cell 937-748-9905 office matt