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Childhood Obesity

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When I started TeamInternallyFit, I wanted it to be a place where people could find information about any health and fitness topic.  I didn’t want it just to be for people who wanted to lose weight or get in shape, although there is plenty of that here.  I wanted it to be helpful to everyone, including parents.  As a parent of 2 small girls, I think that it is very important that we teach out kids healthy eating habits when they are young, so that as they get older they will continue to eat the right foods in the right portions.
That’s easier said than done, right?  Everywhere you look we a surrounded by a fast-food, junk food society.  Did you know that a recent report suggests that moms with young children will spend on average more money on fast food this year than on music, books, and video games – combined?  The result, we have trained our children to eat foods that are unhealthy and dangerous.  This lifestyle that we created has led to an obesity epidemic in our country.  Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:
 The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.
Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term health impacts:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Other statictics compiled by Eat This, Not That suggest:

* 1 in 3 children born in the year 2000 will develope diabetes at some point in his or her lifetime.

*Overweight kids were more likely to suffer bone fractures and 30 percent more likely to suffer from joint or muscle pain than children of normal weight.

*kids ages 2 to 11 will see 26,000 TV ads this year–22 percent of them marketing food.

So what do you as a parent do to help change this dangerous trend?  Here is a list of top 10 things you can do the help with childhood obesity.

1.)  Teach your children when they are young, very young to eat healthy foods and make healthy choices.  Set a healthy example for your children.
2.)   Encourage your child to be more active, less T.V. and video games.
3.)  Don’t skip breakfast, it really is the most important meal of the day.
4.)  Provide healthy snacks.  The division of responsibility – Parents should offer nutritious food choices to their children at meal and snack time. Your child decides what he or she will eat based on what you provided.  (fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate, low-fat items, not sodas, chips and candy bars)
5.)  Teach your child portion control.  Teach your child to eat slowly and recognize when they are full.
6.)  Don’t let your child drink their calories.  Provide water, not sodas, gatorade and juices.
7.) Eat fewer science experiments.  McDonalds, Wendy’s, Baskin-Robbins, etc.
8.) Eat at home.  Cook a healthy meal in your kitchen once and a while.   Eat as a family.  Plan to eat somewhere other than the table.  On Friday nights my family and I eat pizza (newman’s own cheese pizza) on the floor in the living room while we watch a movie the kids picked out.
9.) Watch their sugar intake.  Checkout: Are You Eating Too Much Sugar?
10.) Eat the rainbow.  Eat foods that are red, green, orange, purple and yellow.
For more information about healthy eating click on the following: You are what you eat, How many calories to I need? and The Obesity Epidemic are just a few of the posts I written about healthy eating.

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