7 Health Risks Caused by Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity, also called pediatric obesity, can have short-term and long-term medical effects. During the past month, the young adults in our program at Plan-It Life have been learning about nutrition and the possible health ailments caused by childhood obesity.
Here are some of the direct health conditions that can result from carrying around too much weight:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Bone and joint problems
- Sleep apnea
- Poor self-esteem
Moreover, as the child grows into adulthood, those ailments will not only carry over, but also create new health risks, such as Type 1 diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer.
How can parents teach their children to live a healthy lifestyle?
- Talk to your children about examples of healthy foods and making healthy food choices. If you are not sure what constitutes a healthy choice, check out My Plate Kids Place, a new website geared toward kids, at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/kids/index.html
- Introduce your children to food categories and portion sizes that are considered healthy. The My Plate Kids Place site linked just above is an excellent information resource packed with games, activity sheets, videos, recipes and more.
- Make the decision-making fun and your children are more likely to pay attention.
- Ensure that your children are getting at least an hour of physical activity per day. If you want to learn more about what kinds of exercise would benefit your children, please watch for our post on physical activity.
Be a parent. Be a teacher.
As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children about good health and how to make great decisions that will lead to a long-term healthy lifestyle. What you do today will impact their tomorrows, so give them the tools to make healthy choices on their own. Start early and make healthy decisions a family priority. A baby who eats mostly pureed vegetables as an infant will fill their plates with greens and healthy choices when they are an adolescent and will continue into adulthood.
Where should you start?
How about checking your children’s Body Mass Index (BMI)?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a child and teen BMI calculator. Use this calculator for children and teens, ages 2 through 19 years old. The results will give you an idea of your child’s BMI, and provide you with a starting point when making healthy choices. Use that calculator here: http://nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/Calculator.aspx
Give your children the tools to begin healthy habits.
We want the best for our children, and a sure way to give them an advantage is to give them the tools to understand how food replenishes the body with calories, vitamins, and minerals. However, if the intake of food is abused and daily physical activity is ignored, there is an increased risk of childhood obesity and its effects that could follow children into adulthood.
What can you add to this post to help others teach their children how to eat right and be healthy?
“The childhood shows the man as morning shows the day.”
John Milton, Paradise Regained