Children and Obesity
As a person who was afflicted with obesity during childhood, I was prompted to write this blog today. The reason? There is a new study that was presented this week that suggest that nearly 42% of Americans are overweight. But even worse, the trend is starting very early in children. While we all want to be responsible parents, sometimes it seems to be easier to simply ‘give in’ to the unhealthy food demands of our young ones. Perhaps you will reconsider when you consider these facts: In America, according to studies done by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, more than 300,000 people die annually due to diseases caused by obesity. And the cost of obesity to society is estimated around 100 billion dollars every year.
Unfortunately,there is a physical price we all must pay for over-indulging in unhealthy foods. I too, was branded with obesity for far more years than I’d like to admit. This is despite the fact that I’ve worked as a health care professional for more than 30 years, and I know full well of the consequences. I know a lot about this subject mostly because I am still struggling with this disease today. Once a person develops bad eating habits, it is extremely difficult to overcome. But never-the-less, it can be done. I became the healthy warrior when I began my weight loss journey and subsequently lost more than 150 pounds. I am striving to live healthy every day and also to educate others in health issues of the day.
Overeating on the sugary and high fat foods may taste good, but they have very little nutritional value; AND that kind of habit will certainly lead to obesity. Obesity is almost certain to be accompanied with diseases that will dramatically affect a person’s health in a negative way. In the case of morbid obesity, the diseases also include decreased mobility and even premature death.
Therefore we must pay closer attention and take control of the kind of foods we allow ourchildren to consume. This should happen when they are very young in order to avert bad eating habits and avoid conflicts later. Children should not feel deprived or hungry between meals. This will only lead to more problems like sneaking food and resentment. Healthy snacks should be offered such as fruits, whole wheat or whole grain crackers and low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks. Instead of offering sodas that are loaded with sugar, offer instead all natural sugar free fruit juices, and ice pops.
Obesity can also be combated with an increase in the amount of physical activity. In this high tech age we live in, children no longer play outside the way they used to. Once they are home from school, they tend to go to the computers, iPods and other technical devices. Some will simply flop in front of the TV.
You can encourage your children to exercise more by participating in physical activity with them. Go to the park and let them runaround and play. This is a twofer because you will get in some desired physical activity too. Also, you can put on some of your favorite fast paced music and dance. Just you and the kids… or you can make it a family affair by including your spouse as well. You can add more fun by having a dance contest and offer a small prize to the winner. Practically any physical activity you can think of that will capture your children’s attention should be encouraged. The important thing is to get them involved in more physical activity early in life.
Older children who may already be obese or who are heading in that direction should be seen by a physician. The physician will recommend a specific diet plan or refer to a nutritionist. Obese children will not only grow to be unhealthy, but they are subject to getting picked on or bullied by other children. This sort of thing can possibly lead to low self esteem and other psychological problems later.
Some of the diseases that are associated with obesity includes:
3) Hypertension/high blood pressure and stroke
4) High cholesterol level (can damage the arteries)
5) Sleep apnea
6) Bone and joint conditions, such as hip problems and arthritis
7) Early puberty
8) Psychological problems like poor self esteem
Therefore as you can pretty well determine, obesity is a serious disease that needs to be stopped in its tracks. Don’t allow your child or yourself to be over powered with this disease.
Here is to yoursuccess in living a healthy and long life free of obesity.
Healthy trails to you.