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How to Stop Childhood Obesity

Updated on February 21, 2011

About Childhood Obesity

From children’s health organizations to the Surgeon General, medical people everywhere are declaring obesity a national crisis. The media often covers the seventy-two million adults with obesity; however, there is a disturbing new trend towards obesity in children. What were once thought of as adult medical problems like high blood pressure and diabetes, are now showing in many overweight children. So what are the medical implications of overweight children? What must parents know to help their child become or stay healthy? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hosts a number of helpful pages about child health and fitness that answers these questions.

The Risk of Weight Gain

New studies conducted by APP and other organizations have shown that overweight children face many of the same health problems that overweight adults do. The most common problem could be high blood pressure. There are two kinds of blood pressure; systolic, or the blood being pumped out by the heart, and diastolic, or the blood in the vanes when the heart pauses between pumps. A change in either can be dangerous. The implications of having high blood pressure can be damage to the kidney and other organs, possibly even stroke. The signs of high blood pressure in an individual can include dizziness, headache, fatigue, and other problems.

The Cure

Luckily for parents, most problems associated with overweight children can be fixed with exercise and healthy, nonfat, and low salt foods. With children getting less exercise in school and spending more time in front of the TV the best solution to getting children to exercise are games and family time. Children naturally want to have fun playing, hence they spend all their time playing video games. Sports like soccer and baseball are good alternatives to adult exercise like the gym. However, Community centers are also good places to go for family exercise because of the variety of activities to do. Most community centers have classes for children such as martial arts classes or dance classes. Many doctors recommend at least thirty minutes of vigorous exercise everyday; much more then children are allowed to get in school. Family or group activities are a way to engage large groups of children, so inviting over the neighborhood children for an exercise event several times a week could be a proactive way of keeping everybody’s kids fit and engaged. And not just the children will benefit from group exercise, so too will any adult working with them and being forced to play high energy children’s games.

Fruits and vegetables should be incorporated early in a child’s diet so that eating healthy food becomes a habit from an early age. It is recommended that children get at least 3 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, with dark, leafy greens being the best first choice, although it is recommended to eat a rainbow of colors. Feeding children foods that are low in salt helps regulate blood pressure and helps prevent bloat due to excess salt. Just staying active will help children keep fit for long healthy lives.

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