Saturday, November 7, 2009

What You Should Know About Childhood Obesity

by Mike Selvon

You may have heard there is an "obesity epidemic" in America that is afflicting our children. Perhaps you're wondering if your own child is average, overweight or obese. One way to determine childhood obesity is to measure your child's BMI (body mass index), which looks at their weight in relation to their height. The BMI index is a non-invasive screening tool that can be performed simply by taking some measurements and looking up the average at Dnpabmi.

Some say the alarming childhood obesity rate has been caused by a shift in our culture from an active society to a more sedentary society. Compared to the children of the seventies, today's children are more sedentary, spending three hours per day watching TV, movies or playing video games, which has decreased the amount of time children and teens spend actively outdoors.

Television also encourages increased food consumption and tempts children to make unhealthy food choices through exposure to advertisements. Since 1991, the percentage of students' participation in daily physical education during school has decreased from 42% to 28%. The importance of a healthy diet for children cannot be overstated, nor can the need for daily physical activity, since studies show the patterns a child develops early in life tend to remain with him or her for life.

If left untreated, childhood obesity can lead to a number of problems, both physical and psychosocial. Physically, 70% of obese 5 to 17-year-olds have at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor already, whether it is high blood pressure, high cholesterol or abnormal glucose tolerance, and 25% have at least two risk factors.

Obesity is also the leading cause of type 2 diabetes, as 60% of diabetics are also overweight. More immediate health problems include sleep apnea, hepatic steatosis (fatty degeneration of the liver), kidney failure and asthma. Psychologically, obese adolescents become the targets of social stigmatization, which can leave lasting emotional scars that may never fully heal.

There are many ways to prevent childhood obesity in your home. While you certainly don't want to place your child on a restrictive diet that may interfere with normal growth and development, planning meals with balanced calories can help ensure your child gets an appropriate amount of nutrition. Be sure to encourage your child's healthy eating habits by providing vegetables, fruits, whole-grain foods, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, proper portion sizes and plenty of water. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar and fatty foods in the house as much as possible.

About the Author
Mike Selvon has some informative articles for the creative mind. Find out more about the type childhood obesity at his resourceful site. We appreciate your feedback at our obesity causes blog.

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What You Should Know About Childhood Obesity

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