Obesity in children is a problem that has definitely snowballed out of control over the past 20 years. In fact, statistics show that around 12.5 million children ages 2-19 are obese. That is 17 One thing (among many) that makes this such a major issue is that these kids are experiencing health problems that used to affect adults but now are affecting them at much younger ages than ever before. Examples are type II diabetes, high cholesterol, low self-esteem, and joint pain. In addition, they are on the path to more severe health issues earlier in life that will continue to worsen over time and well into adulthood, significantly altering their quality of life.
Who Determines What Categorizes a Child as Obese?
Like adults, children are also measured using the body mass index (BMI), which takes into account age, height, weight, and gender from the ages of 2-19. The measurements are plotted on a chart yielding a percentile compared to other children or adolescents of the same age and gender. Overweight is defined as having a BMI above the 85th percentile. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile.
Rise Factors for Childhood Obesity
Besides the obvious fact that kids are eating too much and not getting enough physical activity in any way, shape, or form, the CDC has outline numerous environmental factors that make it difficult for kids and their parents to make healthy choices because it is not the easy choice. Personally, I think this is just a list full of excuses, but nonetheless, here are some of them:
- Sugar drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses
- Advertisements of unhealthy food
- No appealing or safe places to play in the community
- Limited access to healthy foods.
- Larger portion sizes.
How Parents Can Make a Difference
One tiny word can go a long way…don’t be afraid to tell your kids “NO.” Monitor more closely what they are eating. Take the junk out of the cupboards and fill it with healthier food choices. Make guidelines for time spent watching TV or playing video games and time spent exercising and doing something physical. After all, not many people are successful in life due to hours and hours of improving their gaming ability. Most importantly, be someone your child can look up to. Statistics report that if one or more parents are obese, the risk of children being obese is increased simply because of the food choices and lifestyle that they see and learn. By making changes in your own life, you will see a difference in your children. Let them see you embracing a healthy lifestyle filled with healthy food choices and consistent physical activity. Visit knowmybody.com for more helpful information on how you can embrace a healthy and fit lifestyle.