This is a topic that really sadden’s my heart. Every where I go I see toddlers, children, preteen, teenagers and young adults that are over-weight, obese and yes I even see some that I would say are Morbidly Obese. How sad is that! Who’s fault is that? It is ours, us the parents, the supposedly smart adults in America that are setting our children up to lead extremely unhealthy lifestyles, to have a life full of sickness, full of self confidence, and potentially an early death! Do we really want to be the parents burying our children before us?
Center for Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. In 2008 alone more than 1/3 of adolescents alone where overweight or obese. WOW! I could not find the stats of what it is 4 years later being 2012, however I can only imagine it is grown to more than this. Lets take a look at some definitions for you according to the CDC growth charts.
- Over-weight: is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile for childeren of the same age and sex.
- Obesity: is defined as a BMI at or above the 95h percentile for children of the same age and sex.
There are many health issues associated with childhood obesity, some of the immediate health problems are increased risk of cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure. They are also more likely to have pre-diabetes, which is a very high risk for developing diabetes. They also increase their risk of having bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, asthma, fatty liver disease, gallstones, gastro-esophageal reflux, and social and psychological problems (these can even continue into adulthood).
Many children who are obese in there younger years go on to being obese throughout there adult years. The long term effects of this are then added on to the problems they had as children. They are now at risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
What are some things that we can do today about our youth tomorrow? The first thing that we can teach our youth is to move more, get them outside, have fun with your kids and get them involved in something outdoors. Whether it be something recreational or a sport. Just get them more active! This can also be a great way to have more quality time with our children, which I think is often times lost these days however that is another topic for another day! Second, nutrition wow where to begin on this topic. For one I want to say there are so many ways to make healthy meals that your kids will enjoy, and they may not at first because their taste buds are accustomed to eating the crap that is marketed as “don’t have time to cook buy me”, processed beyond even having any nutrion left in it on the shelves, fast food industry that is such a convenience and highly highly marketed to our kids.
Slowly start introducing more and more veggies and fruit in their meals, dice them up really small. When they say something taste really good, let them know all the good things that are in it for them. Encourage your child to eat healthy, make snacks that are healthy and ready to grab. Do not buy the unhealthy snacks to have available to them. It is okay for them to have this stuff every now and then do not deprive your child however let them know that this is a treat! It is not something they need on a daily basis. Let your child go grocery shopping with you and pick out the fruits and veggies they want to try. Teach them different ways they can prepare them and learn what they like best.
We can make a difference in our youth today, if and only if, we take an interest in our children today! Don’t let a wasted minute go by. Show them that you care about them, be active with them, teach them what eating healthy means, and to live a healthy life! They will thank you one day for it even if it is not right away!!!