Very few parents can control what their children eat. Over the past 20 years, childhood obesity rates have doubled and are now at epidemic rates. It has become a common sight seeing overweight children and teenagers walking around.
These obese children are more likely to develop serious health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If current trends continue, today’s kids could be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents.
Parents and guardians are key decision-makers when it comes to the nutrition, physical activity and health needs of their child. Each day, parents can take advantage of the healthy choices around them to ensure that their children are as healthy as possible.
Helping your children get and stay healthy isn’t always easy. It’s hard for them to resist the unhealthy snacks, sodas and fast food that seem to be all around them.
It’s also tough to get them away from the television and computer screens and find places for them to play and exercise.
General Facts about obesity in children
• More children than ever are suffering from the effects of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Without early intervention, these problems and habits are likely to continue into adulthood.
• Soaring rates: The number of overweight children and adolescents ages 6-19 has nearly tripled in the last forty years.
• Overweight toddlers: Nearly 14% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight, up from 7% in 1994.
Carrying health problems into adulthood: Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.
Reasons for the Crisis
At many schools children can have sodas, candies and fast foods for lunch. They also have fewer opportunities to exercise and play. When they come home after school, they spend more inactive time in front of a TV, play station or computer.
When children get the opportune time to eat out, they are surrounded by foods and drink that taste good, but which are unhealthy.
Portion sizes are also continuing to increase. Fast food is no longer a treat but a regular meal for many children. The result is an increase in serious health problems earlier in life.
The first lady of the United States Michelle Obama is now on a campaign trail to create awareness on children’s obesity.
This shows how serious obesity problem is.
Health Problems for Obese & Overweight Children
Rising levels of overweight and obesity are already having a negative effect on our children’s health and quality of life.
The obesity epidemic is clearly taking its toll, as more and more children are developing conditions and diseases typically associated with adults.
Diabetes on the rise: Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult-onset diabetes.” Now, the rise in childhood obesity is linked to a dramatic rise in the number of children suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Heart trouble at middle age: If current trends continue, adolescents with type 2 diabetes may experience heart troubles beginning as young as 30 or 40 years old.
Increased risk of heart failure: Being overweight or out of shape, makes the heart work harder. Overweight children are more likely to grow up to be overweight adults and more likely to develop heart problems.
Chronic medical conditions: Obesity is associated with more chronic (continuing) medical conditions than smoking or excessive drinking.
Digestive problems: One in four obese children may have digestive troubles such as constipation.
Higher risk of asthma: There may be a link between the rise in childhood obesity and the rise in childhood asthma. Extra weight can make it harder to breathe and can inflame the respiratory tract. Children with serious asthma are more likely to be overweight.
A child does not need to be fat to be called healthy, it is up to us parents to take care of our children’s health from the beginning, to avoid baby balloons in the future with many problems than we can handle.