Childhood Obesity

At Kids & Teens Primary Healthcare, it is our goal to assist with preventing and reducing childhood obesity by encouraging healthy eating habits and physical activity. Youth are at increased risk for medical conditions due to obesity. There is an ongoing necessity for health education on topics such as preventing obesity by evaluating and changing nutrition, dietary behavior, physical activity, fitness, and personal health and well-being. It is essential to provide healthy food and beverage options and restrict less healthy options.

Most children gain weight as they grow. When children gain more weight than what is necessary to sustain growth and development, it could lead to childhood obesity in children and adolescents. Childhood obesity occurs when the childs weight is far above the normal recommended height and weight for the age. It is a serious condition and can lead to poor health to include diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol which can all be debilitating conditions.

There are various factors that contribute to child and adolescent obesity. There can be genetic and hormonal factors that predispose a child to childhood obesity but most often it is caused by over consumption and inactivity. These are considered to be modifiable causes. They include physical activity, sedentary behavior, socioeconomic status, eating habits and the environment.

The percentage of overweight children in the United States continues to grow. Obesity is also linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and emotional problems. According to the American Obesity Association, excess weight in childhood and adolescence has been found to predict obesity in adults. Overweight children, aged 10 to 14, with at least one overweight or obese parent, were reported to have a 79% likelihood of being obese as an adult. Preventing kids from becoming overweight means adapting the way families eat, exercise and interact together.

Eating Habits and Weight Loss Techniques

  • Start healthy habits early in life
  • Avoid using food as a bribe, reward or punishment
  • Limit juice intake
  • Offer a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminate problem foods from shopping lists
  • Parents or caretakers should take on healthy eating habits
  • Create a healthy and active environment
  • Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior

Increased activity may be the most effective way to help a child slim down. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the incidence of obesity was highest among children who watched a large amount of TV a day, and lowest among children watching an hour or less per day. There is also an increased amount of time that children and adolescents spend on computers and electronics which do not involve movement. This inactivity has a direct correlation with weight.

Obese kids may have a negative feeling about themselves, causing a distorted concept of their appearance or how others perceive them. They may turn to food as a way to cope. Ongoing encouragement and reinforcement are very important. Professional counseling may also help.

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