Childhood obesity is a problem that hasn’t gone away. Studies by the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (published by The Journal of the American Medical Association in Jan. 2012) have found that 35.7% of the adult population and 16.9% of children are categorized as obese. That’s not including the even larger percentage of adults and children that are categorized as overweight. According to Dr. David Ludwig, Director of the Childhood Obesity Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston, “Children will be entering adulthood heavier than they’ve ever been at any time in human history.”
Not only are children being bullied in schools as a result of their weight, causing their confidence to decrease, but they are also being predisposed to a vast number of health issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, hyperlipidemia and liver disease, not to mention an overall lower quality of life.
The easiest way to eradicate this problem is to educate children about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Along with this, parents themselves must learn what a healthy lifestyle entails. Childhood obesity often stems from parents living unhealthy lifestyles and passing those lifestyles onto their children, so parents must get involved.
Childhood obesity is typically a result of the following lifestyle characteristics:
Poor Eating Habits
Americans have adopted an instant gratification diet, which leaves them reaching for the fastest food choices. This is in contrast to what was naturally intended for us. Eating is one of our favorite pastimes and it should be treated as such. Instead, we find ourselves nuking prepackaged, processed foods, stopping for fast food and gulping down sugary drinks like soda. Our bodies are not built to handle these types of foods, and the result is that we pack on the pounds.
Excessive Eating and Eating at the Wrong Times
As a society, we are also used to huge portions of food. We consume large meals instead of eating the way nature intended, which is to graze on small meals throughout the day. We go hours between meals, therefore we are starving when mealtime rolls around, which makes us eat more than we should. Plus, we save our largest meal for the end of the day, and if you happen to eat a late dinner, that means you’re body will not have ample time to burn calories before retiring to bed.
Lack of Exercise
It used to be that kids would be outside running around, riding bikes and engaging in sports activities for a good portion of the day. Now, much of that time is taken up with watching TV and playing video games. It is in children’s nature to be active and by allowing them to replace physical activity with sedentary activities, we are depriving them of their natural means of weight control.
So what can we do?
The way to combat and prevent childhood obesity is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Here are 10 tips for getting started:
Now is the time to set your children up for success in life. By instilling healthy habits now, you can ensure they will carry those habits into adulthood. The flip side of that is that they could carry poor habits into adulthood and end up with illnesses that could have easily been avoided. Give your children the gift of health.
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