Do you know any Facts About Childhood Obesity?
Most adults have realized by now that children are heavier today than they were when they were children themselves. According to the centers for disease control, childhood obesity has more then doubled in children, and tripled in adolescents within the last 30 years. Obesity is at an epidemic level for everyone in North America, and it’s even starting to catch up to the more traditionally thinner parts of the world.
It’s kind of shocking when you are in public places and you see the amount of overweight kids and adults. Obesity has become a huge problem and not all of us know how to deal with it… A lot of us don’t even realize how big of a problem it really is, and a lot of people don’t know any of these Facts About Childhood Obesity. Obesity, even at a young age, can cause a lot of serious health risks.
Facts About Childhood Obesity
If you are worried that your child may be overweight, the first thing you should do is speak to your doctor. Not every child who appears to be overweight is obese. They may just be carrying a few extra pounds or have a bigger build than other children. Your doctor can tell you where your child is on growth charts, and this will determine whether or not your child is in a healthy weight range.
The biggest cause of childhood obesity is lifestyle. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like eating too much junk food and calories, and not moving enough are the greatest factors in obesity. That being said, genetics and disorders can definitely be a factor too.
We are way more sedentary now than they used to be.
We watch more TV and we are in front of screens for most of our day. With the ever rising popularity of cellphones and tablets, people are more likely to communicate electronically rather than meeting face to face. You can see it when you are at a restaurant or just shopping at the mall. Most people are staring at their phones instead of communicating or taking note of their surroundings.
Social media has taken the world by storm and we don’t need to leave the house to be social. Before social media we could go to the park, play basketball, or ride bikes with our friends. Today we are way more likely to sit inside and play video games, or hang out on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. This dangerous trend can be avoided if parents pay attention to their screen time, as well as their children’s.
Setting healthy boundaries and limits to screen time is really important.
We aren’t cooking our own meals.
It’s so much easier to grab something in the drive thru rather than taking 30 minutes to cook a balanced meal, right? 30 years ago families ate dinner together, every night. Moms and Dads cooked healthy meals, from scratch. Nowadays families are busier, with a lot of families having both parents working outside the home, it is easier to grab fast food or a frozen dinner at the grocery store. Unfortunately this means we are consuming more calories, more chemicals, and way less nutritional value.
Some people don’t even know how to cook a proper meal if it doesn’t come from a box. Some children can’t even identify basic fruits and veggies, that’s scary! Jamie Oliver did a show called ‘Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution’ and he was shocked when first graders couldn’t identify fruits and veggies, and they were afraid to try them! Parents need to make sure their children are familiar with fruits and veggies and aren’t afraid to try them.
Of course, as I mentioned, families are way busier now-a-days than they were 30 years ago. Sitting down every night for a home cooked meal with the family may not work, but we can still aim to improve our eating habits by meal prepping and making sure we have healthy options ready to go, even when we don’t have a lot of time.
We lack the skills to stay healthy.
With way too much screen time, and no basic cooking skills, more and more children are becoming overweight. Obesity has many long term effects that are pretty scary. If you are an obese child, chances are you will be an obese adult, but besides that, they are much more likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses that are preventable. There are so many risks to remaining obese and quite frankly there is a chance our children won’t out live us. But we can prevent this.
Learn to read labels.
Learning how to read labels when you are grocery shopping can be a huge help. Watching the things we put into our children’s lunches is much easier when we know how to read a label. Next time you are going to throw in a store bought granola bar or fruit snack, check out the label and see how many grams of sugar are in it. 1 teaspoon is equal to 4 grams of sugar… If your granola bar has 12 grams of sugar in it… You may as well just feed your child 3 teaspoons of sugar!
How can we prevent childhood obesity?
The first step is learning some of the facts about childhood obesity. If we educate ourselves, we are better equipped to deal with it, or prevent it from the get go.
You can prevent your family from suffering the effects of obesity by encouraging less screen time, more physical activity, and by eating more fruits and veggies. Aim to move between 20-30 minutes a day at minimum and eat as natural as possible; fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats.
Avoid buying a lot of sugary drinks and snacks and make sure you are portioning your children’s meals appropriately for their age. Eat more food at home and avoid fast food as much as possible too.
It may take planning and some getting used to, you may even have to adjust or change your whole lifestyle, but in the end, isn’t it worth it? By teaching your children how to live a healthy lifestyle at a young age, you will help them grow into healthier, happier adults.