Obesity strikes children equally as much as adults. By October 2008, the results of a Harvard study announced in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a fourfold increase in childhood obesity over the past 30 years. This signifies a cause for concern about the simultaneously growth in childhood asthma, attention-deficit disorder, diminishing lung function and other medical conditions. The two primary contributing factors are clear, including the following.
- Sedentary lifestyle of many children who watch T.V. consistently and use Internet social networks instead of community activities that provide traditional energetic outlets.
- Fast food intake and high caloric foods add to the level of concern.
Quick Snapshot of Anti-Obesity Tips
Of course, our children need support. The average American child weighs far more than the average children of yesteryear. It’s up to parents and people who touch the lives of children to positively influence their weight goals in life! So, here’s a fast recap of the AMA’s Pediatric Obesity Prevention Recommendations to help our nation’s children.
- Stay away from sugar-sweetened beverages!
- Take advantage of the right amount of healthy fruits and veges, and don’t miss breakfast! Watch those portions sizes on all foods to meet healthy requirements!
- No T.V. for more than 1 to 2 hours each day for kids under 5 years of age!
- No T.V. or computers in children’s bedrooms!
- Home cooked meals are best so try not to eat out or visit fast food restaurants.
Childhood Obesity Impact
The impact of obesity on a child has also been fully realized. Obese children are more likely to be bullied in school, creating the risk of low self-esteem, anxiety, stress, social disorders, depression and poor academic performance. Overweight and obese children may avoid activities that they would otherwise be interested in and may become withdrawn. Children who are obese are also likely to develop disease in adulthood, such as, Type 2 Diabetes, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Hypocholestrolemia.
Involve your child in annual physical examinations at your physician’s office. Well child care can include a focus on the calculation of your child’s body mass index. Body mass index provides a guide to identify obesity in a child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established Body Mass Index guidelines, including: 1) BMI 85th and 94th percentiles — overweight 2) BMI 95th percentile or above — obesity. The physician will also evaluate family history of obesity and medical conditions related to obesity. The physician may evaluate your child’s eating habits and activity level, as well as, medical conditions that your child may be at risk for. Overweight children are at a greater risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, High Blood Pressure, Asthma and other respiratory problems, Sleep Disorders, Liver Disease, early puberty, Eating Disorders, Skin Infections, Social and Emotional problems.
Review relevant information at the appropriate age with your child and set up an action plan that doesn’t focus on obesity. Instead, enjoy life through the adoption of anti-obesity strategies.
The Decision for Weight Maintenance or Weight Loss
Weight loss is not recommended for children under seven years of age unless there is a related medical condition associated with the obesity. Here, the idea is to tally up the inches grown against the weight maintained to fit into a well proportioned body over time. Overweight children that are above seven years of age or are advised to lose weight by their physician may consider healthy weight loss from 1 pound a week to 1 pound a month. In fact, it may be very difficult for children to lose weight. So, a focus needs to be on healthy diet and physical activities that are appealing. Emphasize the positive changes that your children make and reward your children with items other than food and drink. Nothing can replace your physician examination and recommendations. So, share these ideas with your physician to help identify the right action plan for your children.
Check out our article on how to set the tone for an Ideal Metabolic Pace for Weight Loss to help create a fat burning lifestyle. Still, advise your child’s physician before commencing any fat burning lifestyle. Be certain to consider your children’s food intake schedule, portion size and right types of foods and drinks. Food cannot be perceived as a reward or punishment which stimulates binge eating. Make each meal a family affair to exchange daily events and goals without the distraction of televisions, computers or video games. Forgo restaurants as often as possible.
The Physical Activity
Hormonal changes, growth, and social influences add to the risk of weight gain for children. Fun physical activities, known as exercise to adults but not to children, are highly beneficial. Museum walks, Lego lands, and Zoos may be weekly rituals. But the daily physical activities are equally valuable. Sports may be a part of most every child’s daily life. If not sports, maybe jumping rope, hide and seek, biking, swimming or hiking. Children seem to require more activity than adults. So, it’s important meet this expectation. By limiting television, computers, video games and phone communication to two hours a day, the time may be filled with fun activities to stimulate weight maintenance and weight loss. Walk to neighborhood stores, libraries and social activities. Change the activity schedule and type every so often.
Two medications are available for select children in need of weight loss in the most serious cases. For children 16 and over, sibutramine (Meridia) sends a message of being full through changes in brain chemistry stimulated by the drug. For children 12 and over, Orlistat (Xenical) prevents the absorption of fat in the intestines. Since these drugs are relatively new to the market, the long term effects have not been fully reported and there are conflicting reports about the efficacy of the drugs.
The safe and effective approach through medical intervention is weight-loss surgery for obese adolescents who have been unable to lose weight using traditional weight-loss methods and those who qualify for treatment. As in all medical procedures, weight loss surgery has both risks and benefits.
There is a glimmer of hope for children who are obese. There are many tools that we have at our disposal to fight childhood obesity. There are many interested parties who are concerned about childhood obesity. Of course, treatment for childhood obesity starts at home- with daily lifestyles that motivate children for healthy living.
Learn more about Childhood Obesity In Reform
It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.