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All About Childhood Obesity


Childhood obesity is a very serious condition in which children and adolescents are above the normal weight for their age and height. This condition now affects 1 of 6 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood obesity has more [than?] doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. As a result, taking conscious steps to encourage a healthier lifestyle for your children is essential. Here's everything you need to know about childhood obesity, including how to prevent and help treat it:

The facts

Obesity refers to having excess body weight from fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these factors. Various behavioral and environmental factors affect weight. This condition poses both short and long-term effects on your child's physical and mental health. For instance, obese youth are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, due to high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Overweight adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes as they age. Children and adolescents who suffer from childhood obesity are also at a greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and social and psychological problems such as poor self-esteem, depression and behavioral or learning issues. And those are just the short-term health effects. The possible long-term health effects of obese children include:

  • Adulthood obesity.
  • Heart disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Cancer.
  • Osteoarthritis.

Taking action

Childhood obesity is a very serious condition that poses several serious health problems for your child. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to treat and prevent this condition. First, it begins with diet and exercise. Integrating healthy eating habits into your child's life is essential. Your kid should be eating the recommended proportions of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and hydration on a daily basis. But that's not all. It's also important that your child is physically active. That can include anything from walking to riding a bike to playing with friends.

As a parent, it's your job to reinforce good habits in your child's life. After all, they don't know any better, but you do. Making an effort to eat well and exercise regularly will improve the quality of life for everyone in the family, including yourself.

Seek help

Sometimes things are out of your hands. If you're worried that your child is putting on too much weight and not sure what to do, take a visit to the doctor. Your physician will take all of your child's history into consideration to craft the safest and most effective treatment for obesity. Getting help from a professional is always a good idea, as this person is trained to medically treat your child. The physician may ask you to put your child on a specific diet or keep a record of his or her daily physical activity to find the best personalized treatment for your child. Keep in mind that childhood obesity doesn't just affect your child. It also affects the entire family. Everyone in your household should be practicing healthy lifestyle choices to protect themselves from health concerns and improve overall quality of life.

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