Saturday, December 10, 2011

Obesity in the early chilhood

by Lesvia Rivera

At the individual level, childhood obesity is the result of an imbalance between the calories a child consumes as food and beverages and the calories a cild uses to support normal growth and development, metabolism, and physical activity. In other words, obesity results when a child consumes more calories than the child uses. The imbalance between calories consumed and calories used can result from the influences and interactions of a number of factors, including genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. It is the interactions among these factors - rather thann any single factor - that is thought to cause obesity.

Studies indicate that certain genetic characteristics may increase an individual's susceptibility to excess body weight. However, this genetic susceptibility may need to exist iin conjunction with contributing environmental and behavioral factors (such as a high-calorie food supply and minimal physical activity)to have a significant effect on weight. Genetic factors alone can play a role in specific cases of obesity. However, the rapid rise in the rates of overweight and obesity in the general population in recent years cannot be attributed solely to genetic factors. The genetic characteristics of the human population have not changed in the last three decades, but the prevalence of obesity has tripled among school-aged children during that time.

Because the factors that contribute to chilhood obesity interact with each other, it is not possible to specify one behavior as the "cause" of obesity. However, certain behaviors can be identified as potentially contributing to an energy imbalance and, consequently, to obesity. Large portion sizes for food and beverages, eating meals away from home, frequent snacking on energy-dense foods and consuming beverages with added sugar are often hypothesized as contributing to excess energy intake of children. In the area of consuming sugar-sweetened drinks, evidence is growing to suggest an association with weight gain in children. Consuming sugar-sweetened drinks may be associated with obesity because these drinks are high in calories. Children may not compensate at meals for the calories they have consumed in sugar-sweetened drinks, although this may vary by age. Participating in physical activity is important for children as it may have beneficial effects not only on body weight, but also on blood pressure and bone strength. Physically active children are also more likely to remain physically active throughout adolescence and possibly into adulthood. children spend a considerable amount of time with media. One study found that time spent watching TV, videos, DVDs and movies averaged slightly over 3 hours per day. Several studies have found a positive association between the time spent viewing television and increased prevalence of obesity in children. Media use, and specifically television viewing, may displace time children spend in physical activities, contribute to increased energy consumption through excessive snacking and eating meals in front of the TV, influence children to make unhealthy food choices through exposure to food advertisements, and lower children's metabolic rate.

Home, child care, school, and community environments can influence children's behaviors related to food intake and physical activity. Parent-child interactions and the home environment can affect the behaviors of children related to calorie intake and physical activity. Parents are role models for their children who are likely to develop habits similar to their parents. Almost 80% of children aged 5 years and younger with working mothers are in child care for 40 hours a week on average. Child care providers are sharing responsibility with parents for children during important developmental years. Child care can be a setting in which healthy eating and physical activity habits are developed. The built environment within communities influences access to physical activity opportunities and access to affordable and healthy foods. Additionally, lack of access to affordable, healthy food choices in neighborhood food markets can be a barrier to purchasing healthy foods.

Did you know that the rate of obesity has increased by 300% in recent years. Overweight in children 6-11 has doubled since 1980. More than 58 million Americans are overweight, and that includes at least 1 in 5 children. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death (after smoking).

To lose weight or prevent weight gain we should increased healthy eating, and increase physical activity. For overweight children, the goal is to maintain their weight so that as they grow taller they will "grow into" their weight loss with this aged group.

To get a child to start eating vegetables, we should introduce one new foood a month. When introducing a "new food" to the children plan a fun activity, story, or project about the new food. We may need to expose the child to this new food 7 to 15 times before they will accept it!

About the Author

Lesvia Rivera is a Hispanic woman, that has been living in United States for 22 years. I am the mother of two boys, 10 and 8 years old. I am been working in the earlychildhood field for over 10 years, and as a Director of a center for 8 years. A good nutrition among children is a subject that concern me a lot, and I want to help mothers like me, to get our children to have a better nutrition.

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Obesity in the early chilhood



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