Our bodies are the temple of God and as such we must care for our temple. In recent years, adolescent and childhood obesity has grown to epidemic proportions in America. Although gaining a few extra pounds does not necessarily mean that a child is obese, the child may indicate a tendency to gain weight easily and a need for changes in diet and/or exercise. Generally, a child is not considered obese until the weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for the height and body type.
Obese kids face lifelong health risks. Medical studies indicate overweight children are highly likely to become overweight adults, most with a potential for life-threatening problems. Some children experience these problems even before they reach adulthood.
Some factors to remember about childhood obesity:
*Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese.
*Weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is related to over 300,000 U.S. deaths each year.
*Obesity most commonly begins in childhood between the ages of 5 and 6, and during adolescence.
*A child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80% chance of becoming an obese adult.
*If both parents are obese, there is an 80% chance that offspring will also become obese.
*One-in-five U.S. children are currently classified as obese -- with a body mass index of 30 or higher.
*A growing number of children are being diagnosed with conditions associated with overweight adults. These include Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol.
*American kids are eating more food, eating more foods that are higher in calories and exercising less. Most of these children solely partake in sedentary activities.
*More children are eating foods that are high in fat in front of television sets, sitting at computers, or playing video games rather than doing vigorous physical activities that will expend energy and burn fat. A regular diet that includes a variety of foods, physical activity and exercise, and behavior modification will promote a healthier lifestyle.
What To Do To Promote Healthy Weight Maintenance for Your Child/Adolescent:
If you're concerned about your child's weight, there are many things you can try. For starters, you should be aware of what your child is eating, and teach about the benefits of nutrition by being a role model, i.e. you should practice eating healthy and exercise.
Do not force children to eat everything on their plate.
Don't use food as a punishment or reward system.
Provide your child with a well balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. Avoid fatty, greasy food and snacks that are high in fat and sugar. Offer fruits and veggies for snacks and treats instead of candy, chips, cookies and fast food.
Limit fruit juices, they tend to be high in sugar and contain little or no fiber. Encourage children to drink a lot of water and use low fat milk.
Get your entire family involved in plenty of physical activity.
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