Children: The New Childhood Epidemic
of overweight children in the United States is an alarming trend
which should have the attention of all parents. Statistics show
that the percentage of overweight children in the United States
has more than doubled since the seventies and this epidemic shows
no signs of slowing down. Today, about 15 percent of children are
overweight and another 15 percent are at risk for gaining weight.
Overall, one third of U.S. children are either overweight now or
are at risk of being overweight children.
the country can be valuable partners in the goal to reduce the number
of overweight children in the United States. First, each parent
should determine if any of their children are overweight. Most parents
can look at their children and tell if the child appears to be overweight.
A child’s proportion between height and weight is also a good
measure. If your child is in the 95th percentile of weight but only
the 50th percentile in height, there’s a good possibility
that the child is overweight.
To help solve the
problem, it helps to understand the many possible causes for the
increasing number of overweight children in our country. In most
cases, overweight children are probably affected by a number of
factors including genetics, lifestyle habits, and food choices.
When you combine the effects of a sedentary lifestyle with a high-calorie,
processed diet, it’s only natural that overweight children
would become more common in our culture. Television and video games
are a major factor for overweight children. It is estimated that
American children spend an average of 4.5 hours a day in front of
a screen. Along with video time, children are juggling school and
homework as well, leaving little time for exercise. Parents are
extremely busy, too, which gets in the way of preparing fresh, healthy,
lower-calorie meals. Unfortunately, schools may also be contributing
to the problem of overweight children as gym classes and other fitness
programs have dwindled down to about a half-hour a week.
there are several medical conditions that may cause childhood obesity and these should be ruled out first. If it is determined
that a child is overweight because of lifestyle factors, parents
can work with their kids to learn healthier habits. Preventing overweight
children means the entire family becomes involved in exercising,
eating right, and limiting time in front of the TV or computer.
By helping overweight children to limit weight gain as they grow
taller, parents can prevent their kids from developing some very
serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease,
and high blood pressure. Sometimes, instead of losing weight, it’s
easier for overweight children to stop gaining weight while they
allow their bodies to “grow into” their weight.