Approximately 17%, or 12.5 million of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese (CDC). This informative paper is for parents whose children suffer from childhood obesity and are looking for a fun and effective way for their children to become healthy young adults. Introduction:
Being overweight is clinically defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat (Ogden #810). Being overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”; too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years (Daniels). The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period (Dietz).
Health Facts of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity has both immediate and long term effects on your child’s heath. Immediate Health Effects: Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. These results were find by studies in North America in 2009 by the CDC (Guo 145-148). Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes (Freedman). Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem (Kushi 258). Long Term Health Effects: Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis(Li C 345). One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer (CDC).
Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases. The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries (Krebs). Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. Although schools do provide some information to your children about how important it is to have a healthy lifestyle, they do not expand on it as much as they should. Which is why Fit by Fun is a necessary step in the right direction because it is important parents educate themselves to better their children’s lives.
Reversing childhood obesity is possible if consistent efforts are made to choose the best nutrition and to provide regular exercise. Your children look up to you and want to be just like you. Why not be healthy for not only yourself but for your children too. Show your children that being healthy is fun and easy. Some ways to show your children how easy it is to be healthy is:
Exercise for Fun and Fitness
Childhood obesity generally occurs over a period of years, and reversing it requires an extended period of time also. Exercise is one of a child’s best friends, but competition for his or her attention is intense today. Children need at least one hour of exercise everyday (CDC). Possibly because of the fascination with video games, children are inclined to remain inactive for many hours while the games provide entertainment. Research has shown a clear link between childhood obesity and an inadequate amount of physical exercise (Office of the Surgeon General).The attractiveness of the mental challenges in video games is what makes them a difficult opponent when a parent prefers a child to play outside. Sedentary activities that are mentally stimulating, are no substitute for physical exercise.
Follow the Leader
Fitness is a family matter that helps control obesity and is essential in the prevention of childhood obesity. A well-known fact regarding children’s behavior is that it is easily influenced by example, especially one provided by parents. So it is essential to the goal of providing proper exercise for a child to choose activities that accomplish several positive results. Choose one that does these things:
1. Meets a child’s skill level
2. Requires running, jumping or throwing
3. Is fun to do
4. Takes about an hour
Convenience Foods Compound the Problem
Food preparation is a time consuming activity for parents who have a busy schedule. Packaged foods are on almost every aisle in the supermarket. They offer an appealing way to prepare a meal that does not require much time or effort. Before one chooses a highly decorated package with beautiful pictures of cooked dishes, it is important to spend some time reading the nutrition label. Three words that one does not want to find in a packaged product are important to recognize and avoid. These three words are: “refined”, “processed”, and “enriched”. They describe what has happened to the food in the box before the buyer can even put a hand on it. Because of these methods that are used by manufacturers, foods end up having less nutritional value than those that one prepares from their natural state (Ogden).
Refining Foods Diminishes Nutrients
The refining process in food usually means removing the outer portion so the white inner part is all that is left (Ogden #808). As a general rule, white is not as good as color when one is describing food. Rice, for example, is brown in its natural state, but refining removes the healthier portion and leaves the white, starchy part. The same kind of thing happens with refined or granulated sugar. Some experts argue that sugar is not generally helpful to the human body. A difference between brown sugar and white is that the former contains at least some calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium and sodium while white contains almost none of these.
Processed Beyond Belief
Salt intake by children is recommended for no more than 1500 milligrams, and less is better (CDC). One teaspoon contains almost that much, so it is hard to avoid exceeding the recommended amount. Processed foods contain a high level of salt for many reasons, including its preservative nature and its ability to disguise other components. Enriched Sounds Good
White bread undergoes a kind of treatment that destroys the nutrients that are in the grain prior to bleaching. The enriched additives are not an adequate substitute for bread that is made from whole grains (Ogden). How to Shop
The best place to shop in a grocery store is around the walls, outside the areas where the shelves are loaded with foods to avoid. The outer ring is the place where foods are found in their natural state, including fruits, vegetables, milk and juices.
Fit by Fun Summer Camp
At Fit by Fun Summer Camp you and your child will both attend lectures on healthy food choices along with fun activities and games to play that help make your child happy and active all in one. Your child will also learn what team work is along with many other life lessons all taught in a fun, exciting way. Fit by Fun is a week long summer camp all across America. It is a low cost of $30 for a whole week of sessions. If you cannot afford this please contact our financial aid department on our website and we will help you. Sign up today!
Or Email Mary Heinrich at: Mary.Heinrich@rockets.utoledo.edu