In the United States, approximately 1 in every 6 children has obesity. September is designated as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to help us learn more about obesity and about some of the ways we can help combat it. Being well informed is the first step to supporting our children on their good health journey.
As with adults, children with obesity are more at risk for other health problems and diseases, such as sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes.
Children with obesity may suffer more from depression and self-esteem issues than their peers.
Children with obesity are also more likely to continue to struggle with weight problems as adults.
Obesity has many contributing factors, some of which are more easily controlled than others. No one factor can explain all cases of obesity, so treatments should be individualized and children should never feel guilt associated with their weight.
Some factors include
- not enough sleep
- lack of access to gyms, parks, safe outdoor play areas
- not being able to get healthy and affordable food
- too much access to cheap, high-calorie food
How parents can help
- Chart your child’s growth with regular doctor check-ups.
- Provide healthy snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Have water on hand–flavored water or bottled water are good options for taste and accessibility
- Model healthy eating and exercise habits (and body positivity too).
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s weight and health, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s doctor and to your child’s school to see how everyone can work together to provide plenty of healthy food and exercise options for your child and their peers.
Source: CDC https://www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/index.html
Image Credit: Pixabay, Creative Commons https://pixabay.com/en/weight-loss-weight-nutrition-scale-2036965/