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The Effects of Childhood Obesity

Updated on March 5, 2013
Limit junk food! Read the labels!
Limit junk food! Read the labels! | Source

According to the New York City Department of Health, 43% of school age children are overweight. 43%! The predominant cause of childhood obesity is eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity. Parents, educators and citizens, have been making great strides to correct this problem but it still isn't enough. Obesity in children is so prevalent that it is the cause of many serious health problems. A large percentage of these children will grow up to be obese adults and the list of health complications will get greater.

Complications of Childhood Obesity

Physical Complications
Emotional Complications
Type 2 Diabetes
depression
High Cholesterol and high blood pressure
low self esteem
Asthma and other breathing problems
behavior problems
Early puberty or onset of menstruation
learning problems
sleep disorders
bullying

Where can you find help for Childhood Obesity?

The Children's Aid Society has a program called Go!Healthy, designed to educate families about healthy cooking and eating.

The Mayo Clinic has a program dedicated to Childhood Obesity, filled with all types of facts, suggestions and articles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has a wealth of available information.

The Benefits of a Healthy Diet for Children

  1. Increased self-esteem
  2. Bone strengthening
  3. Decreased blood pressure
  4. Reduced stress and anxiety
  5. Forming good eating habits for life

How do we encourage healthy eating habits in Children?

  • Make favorite dishes healthier! (Substitute low fat or non-fat products)
  • Remove calorie laden or high fat temptations.
  • Serve realistic portions.
  • Cut back on sugar sweetened bevarages and give your family plenty of water.
  • Offer fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks.
  • Limit sugar and saturated fats
  • Serve lean meats and proteins

Developing Healthy Physical Habits

A healthy diet is still only part of what children need to maintain a healthy weight. They need physical activity. One hour a day in gym class is not enough. Walking around the mall isn't going to do it. Kids need to be active.

  • Limit their TV and computer time and get them moving!
  • Participate in physical activities with them
  • If feasible, suggest a walk TO the mall!
  • Take a frisbee or a ball and play catch.
  • Dance! Put on some music and dance. Be silly. Have fun!

Encouraging physical activities has many benefits!
Encouraging physical activities has many benefits! | Source

How can you control your Child's Eating Habits out of the home?

This is always a bit more difficult. When your child is at school or at someone else's home, there may be temptations that he/she wouldn't have at home. There are many different schools of thought on this. In my opinion, unless your child is allergic to a particular food, don't sweat it. If you have taught your child healthy eating habits, he/she will make sound decisions. If they are eating well balanced meals at home, a rare candy bar or chips will not hurt them. you may even find them bringing their own healthy snacks to share!

Adapting a Healthy Lifestyle as a Family

In our rush and bustle world, many of us have a tendency to grab what's easy, fast and fulfilling. While that may solve the need for immediate gratification, it will probably cause us heartache (literally) down the road. If you and your family have been living this type of lifestyle for awhile, it may be a little more difficult to get everyone on board when making changes. I suggest you talk to your kids, present them with facts and statistics. Allow your children to be part of the solution. Let them make decisions about how you are going to change your habits. The more involved they become in the planning, the more ownership and accountability they will feel. In addition, they will probably have some great ideas!

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    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Cathy for reading and commenting. It's funny how much they absorb! I just had dinner at my daughter's home for the first time. Stuffed peppers, Brown rice and salad with lemon. So, some of it does rub off on them!

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 4 years ago from NJ

      This is great information on childhood obesity. I agree the best way to avoid or reverse it is by educating our kids. My children will roll their eyes and say, "Mom I don't care." but now they armed with the right information to make the right choices which surprisingly they are doing more and more of as they grow.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Patricia for reading, sharing and especially for your contributing comments! When we lived in Israel, school got out at 2:00 pm. They had a mid morning break at 10 and ate a meal at home. The heaviest of our meals was at 3 and dinner was something light and healthy. Thay was the best shape we were ever in in!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Hi btrbell

      Important topic you have addressed.

      When I was still teaching, we would have a snack in the morning because we did not have lunch till 1:00. It was difficult to get families to not send in cookies and sweet desserts but with gentle reminders most would send in healthier foods.

      Our school system began a program of having a healthy snack one day a week --county wide and the kids took to it well...veggies and fruits were the snack. Often they would ask for seconds.

      Thanks for sharing this..

      Sending you Angels this morning :) ps

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Gypsy! It is really hard with kids. Even when you do as much as you can at homer, junk food still seems to surround them. My kids love veggies and fruits and east very well balanced, healthy meals at home, yet....just say "fast food" and they are THERE! Thank you for voting!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Martin!

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      I have nephews that practically live on fast food and it shows. They rarely eat fresh fruit or vegetables. I didn't grow up with a fast food place on every corner like they have. Well balanced meals for children are a must to avoid serious health issues. Voted up.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this very informative hub.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, drbj! I couldn't agree more. Not only were we in better shape physically, we also learned to be more creative. Not to sound cliche, but we loved to play with empty boxes! Thank you so much for your comments!

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Arun Kanti for your comments. It is very scary what is happening to our health!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Carol! I really appreciate your support in your comments, votes and pinning!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Every parent should read this and apply your rational suggestions, Randi. I believe that television and computers bear much of the blame for our inactive children and rise in obesity. When I was a child - eons ago - there was only radio so what did my friends and I do every day after school? We went outside to PLAY! We expended so much energy and calories that weight gain was never a problem.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 4 years ago from KOLKATA

      Obesity is a world wide problem. Lured by attractive advertisements parents are now inclined to introduce their children to junk ready made food causing health problems and obesity. Everyone should ponder a while to change such attitude and focus more on healthy foods and life style.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Great job on this and I am glad I kept sugar out of our home while the kids were growing up..They always complained that their friends had better food. Today they are both healthy conscious and trim. It works. It kind of stems with the apathy of people today..hurry up and eat junk. It is easy and takes no thought. It is amazing at the seriousness of this epidemic of obesity in youth...and it carries forward to adulthood. Thanks for a great write. VOting up and pinning for others to be aware.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much, Bill! It's been so long since I've spent any time here! I hope you and Bev are doing well!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information, Randi! Obesity is an epidemic in this country, and parents would do well to read this hub and understand the consequences of their actions.