Child Obesity in America: Taking Care of Our Children
There are plenty of statistics available that prove child obesity in America is at epidemic levels. In the last 30 years the number of children who are overweight has tripled to 15%. When you add the overweight and obese statistics together, the problem becomes crystal clear. One-third of the nation's children are carrying too much weight. There are lots of reasons why child obesity in America is on the rise.
Doctors agree that there are two primary factors in creating obese
children. First, the children and teenagers are not eating the right kinds of foods. Second, America's children are getting less and less exercise on a daily basis. The mixture of fast food diets along with sedentary lifestyles is creating a generation of children who are facing very adult health issues like high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.
Children who are obese also must confront the many psychological issues that being overweight creates. Overweight children often have low self-esteem, which is made worse when they are unable to participate in normal activities such as sports or on the playground. Teen eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia develop in response to feelings of body inadequacy. Obese children are teased, bullied and made to feel inferior on a number of levels.
Parents: The Agents of Change
Changing the trend in the rate of child obesity in America is not difficult as long as parents are willing to accept their responsibility for teaching their children healthy lifestyles. The parents of obese children must begin, within the family, to identify the problems and custom design a plan for change. Childhood eating habits must be changed, and teen diets adjusted to accommodate their specific nutritional needs.
In the USA, fast food has taken a toll on children's health. Because of eating more and more fast food, child obesity is growing rapidly. It is also one of the primary reasons for what causes teen obesity.
Parents must cook nutritionally balanced meals, virtually eliminate snacks high in fat and sugar, teach portion control, pack healthy lunches, avoid fast food and help their children increase levels of physical activity. Parents must teach by doing, which means parents must, themselves, also follow a nutritional and exercise plan that leads to a healthy weight.
In other words, parents must become experts at child and teen nutrition and set a good example. Identifying the problem and its causes is just the first step. Developing a plan for helping children become fit means creating a step-by-step program of good nutrition and exercise.