Thursday, February 16, 2012

Childhood Obesity Facts Which Could Save Your Child

by Trevor Dalley

While we all know that our nation, and many other nations around the world, are facing a new health challenge with high obesity rates.

What you may not know is that one of the fastest growing segments of the population in terms of obesity is children.

Here are some childhood obesity facts that can paint a clearer, and bleaker, picture.

For children between the ages of 2 to 5 and from 12 to 19 the obesity rates have doubled since just a few decades ago, and for the age group of kids between 6 and 11 the rates have tripled in the same time frame!

About a third of children today run the risk of becoming obese, and sixteen percent of them are already obese.

That's a frightening statistic!

Gender doesn't seem to make much of a difference, the rates for boys and girls are virtually the same.

What does seem to make a difference are income levels.

Hundreds of years ago being overweight was a sign of wealth and prestige, that is no longer the case.

Though it may sound counterintuitive, the poorer segments of the population are actually at a far greater risk of obesity.

Why? Simple, highly processed, fatty food is cheap.

Leaner, more healthy fruits and vegetables are more expensive.

The lower income people don't have the option of buying the healthier, more expensive food options.

There is some differences between certain ethnic groups as well.

Also there can be a genetic pre-disposition to obesity.

But sometimes it's not genetic it's simply the fact that every member of the family has adopted the same unhealthy eating habits.

Of course we all know of the health risks associated with obesity, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, to name just a few.

These are magnified the longer a person is obese, so in the case of a child they are at far greater risk much earlier in life than a normal sized person who gains weight in middle age would be.

Besides the physical danger to overweight children there is also the potential for psychological damage as well.

Our society stereotypes overweight people as being lazy, stupid, and lacking self control.

These stigmas can follow a child throughout their entire life.

That can lead to difficulties in relationships and achieving their full potential.

Of course one advantage of the fact that we are talking about children is that we, as parents, have control over this issue.

We can make it a priority to help our children make better choices.

We can make sure we don't allow our children to eat fast food more than once a week.

We can restrict the amount of soda, cookies, ice creams, and chips we buy when we do our grocery shopping.

Another thing parents can do, that will benefit them and the whole family, is to encourage the whole family to get more exercise.

Suggest an after dinner walk, or bike ride for the whole family.

Not only will this be a great way to spend some quality time together, it will also encourage your kids to get some exercise.

You will be setting a good example for them.

These childhood obesity facts are startling, but now that you know you do have the power to make changes.

Knowledge is power, and it might not be easy but you can help change your child's course to one of a more healthy lifestyle filled with nutritious foods and plenty of physical activity.

It's not too late.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why Childhood Obesity is Increasing

by Moaz Derfasi

In the United States today, one of every three children is obese. This is the major health issue in that country. Obesity, especially in people so young, leads to early onset Diabetes, strokes and heart attacks, even in the adolescent years. It may be linked to some cancers. There are two reasons for this health issue, poor eating habits and lack of exercise.

Your child cannot lose weight fast until both of these deficiencies are corrected. However, that is harder than you think, because most of us crave unhealthy meals. We eat processed foods which are loaded with artificial colors, sugars and salt. Readymade dinners, breakfasts and lunches fill the freezer sections and shelves of most grocery stores as well as calorie dense deserts, snacks and concentrated fruit juices. Look at your grocery store, how much of it contains fresh produce, dairy and meat sections, in comparison to processed, canned and frozen foods?

Unhealthy foods are everywhere because they taste better and more convenient. There is hardly a store you walk into today which does not have candy and snacks near the checkout counter, including department stores, home improvement stores, even fabric stores and pet stores. There is a portion of fresh meats, dairy products and eggs contain certain amounts of chemicals fed to animals so they can produce more, grow faster, or stay healthier. These, according to recent studies, stimulate fat cell growth. Even plants can be injected with chemicals, rubbed with waxes, and given added colors. They can be picked before they are fully developed and then artificially ripened with gases on the way to market reducing their nutritional value. People say they can't afford organic foods and locally grown produce and meats. However, health is your most valuable possession so hold it tight and never let it go.

Furthermore, our kids are becoming sedentary, physical education programs have been shortened or cut, computer games and TV have taken the place of physical activities. Luckily, the newer games get kids active and moving. Still, in the 1960's kids watched an average of 5 hours of TV a week. Today, many watch that much a day.

Good habits start young. If you want your child to lose weight fast, be the parent with the touch love attitude. Stop buying the wrong foods, pack their lunches, talk to them about the importance of good eating habits and make exercise a part of their daily routine. Finally, kids imitate mom and dad, so follow your own advice. Exercise with them, and share healthy meals together. You may discover the house is a happier place, everyone sleeps better and doctor visits will be less often. You may even discover that you lose weight fast as well.


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Moaz Derfasi holds a Masters degree in Food and Nutrition Science from Curtin University of Technology

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