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Obesity and its Effect on Children

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Today, I read a statement on a weight loss social media site that I found to be quite profound.

“Today is the first day in thirty five years that I did not feel like I needed to lose weight”.

The young lady who made this statement has felt ashamed of her weight since she was five years old. Thankfully now, she has finally achieved a healthy body fat percentage and weight. Whether some people will acknowledge feeling ashamed about their weight or not, the reality is, most do feel ashamed to some extent or another. But, the larger point I want to drive home is the fact this woman has felt shame since she was a young child, and she is far from being alone in feeling this way as a child. No child should ever feel ashamed of how they look or feel for any reason. Our children are our most precious and important resource and causing them stress
in early life can affect their dietary, physical activity, and other health behaviors, which increases
their risk of becoming overweight or obese. It is our duty as parents to nurture their every need during the formative years in order for them to grow up to become mentally and physically healthy adults. Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It’s particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once considered adult problems — diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression. We owe our children better than this. We allow our children to become obese when we allow too little physical activity and feed them far too many calories from food and drinks which are the main contributors to childhood obesity.

Risk factors we allow for our children!

These risk factors above are all factors we as parents have, or should have control over.

Physical complications of childhood obesity include:

Be a positive example and role model for the children in your life to follow.

Parents, guardians, and teachers can help children maintain a healthy weight by helping them develop healthy eating habits and limiting calorie-rich temptations. You also want to help children be physically active, have reduced screen time, and get adequate sleep.

“YOU” can help children develop healthy eating habits!

Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.

Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products, including cheese and yogurt.

Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.

Encourage your family to drink lots of water.

“YOU” can limit calorie rich temptations!

You can do this by reducing the availability of high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks which can help your children develop healthy eating habits. Only allow your children to eat these foods rarely, so that they truly will be treats!

By encouraging your children to be active with regular physical activity they will develop many health benefits, including:

Strengthening bones.

Decreasing blood pressure.

Reducing stress and anxiety.

Increasing self-esteem.

Helping with weight management.

Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day. Children ages 3 through 5 years should be active throughout the day. Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day. If your quiet time is more important to you than your child being active, you have failed them.

Children ages 3 through 5 years should be active throughout the day.

Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day.

If we are being honest, sitting your child down in front of the television or video with sugary foods and drink is one of the worst things we have ever began doing as a society. Ask yourself who benefits most by sitting your child down like this, is it you or the child who benefits? If you have ever paid attention to kids on a playground, you have to know that most are naturally physically active and love to move around. This is what children are supposed to do!

No child should ever feel ashamed about how they look. No one should ever wake up one day and no longer feel as if they no longer need to lose weight after thirty five years. As a society, we can and must do better and what is right for our children’s needs if we want them to grow into healthy adults who can raise their own healthy children.


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