It's no secret that childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years who are obese has more than doubled in the past 30 years.1 Unfortunately, obesity doesn't just go away as kids grow up; according to studies, children who are obese are more likely to stay obese into adulthood.2 That's why it's so important to make changes now, before it's too late.
The Risks of Obesity in Childhood
While many people think of obesity as simply a cosmetic issue, it can actually lead to a host of problems, both in childhood and later in life. Some of the risks associated with childhood obesity include:
Obese children are often teased and Bullied by their peers, which can lead to social isolation and poor self-esteem.
Lack of self-control
Kids who are obese often have trouble following rules and tend to be less self-disciplined than their non-obese counterparts. This can lead to problems in school and later on in life.
Obese children often feel unfulfilled because they are unable to participate in activities that require physical activity, such as sports. This lack of fulfillment can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
Making Changes Before It's Too Late
How You Can Fix It
And according to the CDC, "obese children are very likely to be obese as adults and more likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, several types of cancer, and sleep apnea." In other words, if your child is obese now, they are likely to struggle with obesity as an adult. And those struggles will likely include social isolation, lack of self-control, and unfulfillment. So what can you do to prevent childhood obesity? If you're concerned about your child's weight, there are steps you can take to help them slim down and avoid the risks associated with obesity. Some changes you can make include:
1. Be a Good Role Model
If you are overweight or obese, your child is more likely to be overweight or obese. Why? Because children learn by example. If you eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, your child is more likely to do the same. But if you eat junk food and don't get enough exercise, your child is more likely to follow your lead. So set a good example for your child by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.
2. Make Healthy Foods Available
If you want your child to eat healthy foods, you have to make those foods available. That means stocking your fridge with healthy fruits and vegetables and keeping unhealthy snacks out of the house. It also means packing healthy lunches for your child rather than letting them buy lunch at school. And it means cooking healthy meals for dinner rather than ordering takeout.
3. Encourage Your Child to Be Active
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of obesity. So encourage your child to be active by participating in activities together as a family. Take walks around the neighborhood after dinner. Go for bike rides on the weekends. Play tag in the backyard. Just get moving!
4. Schedule Regular Doctor's Appointments
Finally, be sure to schedule regular doctor's appointments for your child so that their weight can be monitored and any health concerns can be addressed early on.
Preventing childhood obesity isn't easy but it's important—for the sake of your child's health now and in the future. By following the tips above, you can help prevent childhood obesity and set your child up for a lifetime of good health!
The bottom line is this: if your child is obese, it's time to make some changes. Obesity doesn't just go away on its own, and it comes with a whole host of risks that can impact your child now and later in life. But by making simple lifestyle changes—such as encouraging physical activity—you can help your child slim down and avoid those risks. So don't wait—start making changes today!
"Preventing Childhood Obesity." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 01 Mar. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
"The Risks of Childhood Obesity." The Huffington Post Canada. The Huffington Post Canada, 09 Nov. 2015. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
"10 Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International Ltd., 07 Feb. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2016
"5 Simple Tips to Help Prevent Childhood Obesity." Fox News Health. FOX News Network, LLC, 09 Feb. 2016 Web 17 Apr1. 2016.
"Childhood Obesity: How to Prevent It." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 01 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
"Preventing Childhood Obesity: Tips for Parents." WebMD. Eds. Rallie