Monday, October 29, 2007

Childhood Obesity Facts and Tips

by Ruff Raun

Children are facing the perils of obesity at an alarming rate with 17% of kids between the ages of 6 to 19 being overweight or obese, according to researchers.

Many parents find themselves in a dilemma where they simply don't have the time to properly monitor their childrens eating habits and they are unintentionally depriving the kids of healthy well balanced, home prepared meals.

Fast food style restaurants are more concerned with their bottom line rather than feeding the consumer with an inexpensive, healthy, low calorie tasty meal. Kids and parents keep going back for more since it fills you up, taste good and it's affordable.

Poor people are most at risk of obesity with the option of getting a quick hunger fix for only around five buckle busting dollars.

Becoming overweight or obese is a symptom of inactivity and poor eating habits and if not prevented, the child will grow up with all of the health, employment and social issues associated with obesity, so it is important that parents take steps now before the kids need to start dieting.

Parents need to set a good example for their children and apply healthy living to their own lifestyles and emphasize the importance of eating properly and making exercise and physical activity a part of their own daily lives.

Obesity wasn't an issue in past generations, if a child wasn't helping with the many chores that needed to be done, they were out on the street or on the ball field playing fun cardiovascular, stamina type sports and games, but today most children find television and computer games a way of life.

With half of American families not having a sit down meal, many kids have to make their own food decisions when they get hungry, so they are left to the mercy of what ever is in the fridge or cabinets, or have money for a five dollar meal. If there is one stay at home parent, then providing consistent balanced healthy food and physical activity is essential.

Schools have finally jumped on the nutritional bandwagon and have added more balanced food products while reducing or elliminating many of the high fat and cholesterol foods, according to a 2006 study by School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS). Parents can rest a little easier knowing that the school system is making great strides in educating and offering healthier foods.

The foods parents provide at home can echo what the schools are offering with more fruits and vegetables, more whole grain products and less high fat foods and soda pop. Also, only 18.8% of schools offer deep-fried potatoes, down dramatically from 40.0% in 2000.

Some Tips: Parents need to try and prepare more healthy food for the kids and themselves, such as cold whole grain cereals or hot oatmeal to start the day and fill up on more large low calorie salads for example and fruit for dessert. Prepare meals for the week on the weekend so when the kids reach for something to eat it will be of nutritional value, and don't leave out protein...Cut way back on the five c's, candy, cookies, cakes, cola and chips, unless their made of whole grain products.

Kids are no different than adults when it comes to the biology of obesity, they need to cut more calories throughout the day than they take in. In order to maintain a healthy weight, get the kids involved in sports if possible, but if not try to get the kids in the habit of starting the day with some stretching and calisthenic type exercises, and if they can't pry themselves away frome the tube or computer, make them do ten minutes of chores or some exercises for ten minutes for every hour they sit.

It is the responsibility of the parents and school administrators to guide the kids towards healthy choices and enlighten them to the benefits of exercise and avoiding bad food choices so they can avoid being victims of obesity related diseases that include diabetes, heart disease, cancer and premature death.

Research: One study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children and if being overweight begins before the age of 8 years, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe. Source: Centers For Disease Control (CDC)

Another study concluded that if a women was overweight before she became pregnant, her child was nearly three times more likely to be overweight by age 7 compared to a child whose mother was not overweight or obese. Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The simple equation for healthy living still applies to everyone; Expel more calories than you consume and eat the proper foods to maintain optimal health.

About the Author
Involved in health and fitness for over 35 years. Please visit http://www.6topsystems



Childhood Obesity Facts and Tips



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