Overweight Children Need Family Lifestyle Changes

 

 

The 21st century epidemic of childhood obesity is well documented and well publicized. Lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating are the main contributors to this serious problem.





Dangers of Childhood Obesity



Childhood obesity increases the risk for getting type two diabetes and muscle/joint problems in childhood as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer in adulthood. Social prejudice and the resulting poor self-esteem and depression are immediate problems for overweight children. Overweight children may be teased unkindly and excluded from social activities, leading to negative feelings about themselves.



A recent study from the University of Texas/Austin shows that obesity can even limit a child’s aspirations. The study found that obese girls are half as likely to attend college as their less heavy peers, pointing to long-term consequences due to the social stigma of obesity.





Setting a Positive Example



Parents face many challenges in addressing their children’s weight issues. For their efforts to succeed parents must understand that weight control is not just about dieting, it’s about lifestyle and it’s a lifelong effort. Being role models for healthy eating and physical activity is the first step for parents to help their children control their weight.





Safe Weight Control for Children



The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General has suggestions for preventing and decreasing childhood obesity. In general, these ideas involve boosting the child’s self-esteem, increasing physical activity, and improving eating habits. Crash diets and diet pills can seriously impact a child’s health and growth and have no place in a safe weight control program.





Consult a medical provider before starting a weight control program for a child.



 



Provide opportunities for healthy eating for the whole family.





Encourage physical activity for the whole family.

 



Boost self-esteem.





Families play the major role in helping children learn the skills they need for lifelong weight control. It’s more than losing weight it’s changing family behaviors so children experience what it’s like to live a healthy lifestyle, with nutritious food and regular exercise.

 

References

http://www.goodhealth.com/articles/2009/01/07/center_needed_to_address_childhood_obesity

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2008/11/25/obesity_prevention/

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity/calltoaction/fact_adolescents.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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