Preventing Childhood Obesity – The War Continues

Preventing Childhood Obesity

Most fast food is simply unhealthy for our kids but thousands of kids eat this everyday as the obesity stats rise in the U.S.

Preventing Childhood Obesity has gradually become one of the top issues that you will see on the nightly news reports. Did you know that 1 in 4 eleven-year-old kids will face high blood pressure, high cholesterol and problems with obesity in this country? With all of the processed foods and junk that parents and kids alike consume, we’ve slowly built the U.S. into the most obese country in the entire world.

Everyone knows it’s a problem but the bottom line is that bad habits are tough to break and when it comes to food, it’s even tougher. In this country it is way too easy for anyone (including kids) to access junk food just about anywhere they go.  There are vending machines for junk food and candy at just about every stop you make along the road and you can’t go 20-feet without seeing a Coke or Pepsi vending machine hawking quarts of sugar water for a dollar.

As our country pulls itself out of this economic mess, more jobs will become available which means more dollars in our kids’ pockets. But making sure those dollars don’t end up in vending machines, or junk food, or McDonald’s hamburgers and the like is the goal of every parent (or at least it should be) in order to save our kids from being an obesity statistic.

Emily McBee and Kiara Knox from recently investigated the issues surround childhood obesity in Colorado and I can tell you these stats ring true throughout the entire country. — The remarkably high obesity rate in the United States marks our country as the world’s fattest. Obesity is one of the easiest medical conditions to diagnose, but among the hardest to treat and overcome.

With one-third of Americans suffering from obesity today, we are presented with a huge hurdle for the country to overcome. The three leading states in obesity rates are Mississippi with 34 percent, West Virginia with 32.5 percent and Alabama with 32.2 percent of their populations being severely overweight.

As of 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control, all 50 states in America passed the 20 percent marker for obesity, including the “skinny” state, Colorado, with 21percent of its population being obese.

According to the American Academy for Children and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33 percent of children and adolescents are classified as obese. A child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of being obese as an adult. If one parent is obese, the child has a 50 percent chance of genetically carrying the trait; if both parents are obese, the child has an 80 percent chance of following in their footsteps.

Brandie Freeman, a teacher at Woodland High School, suggests that parents “reduce refined carbohydrate consumption like white flour, rice, sugar and especially corn syrup.

“Your physical state of health is 80 percent diet and 20percent exercise, so while exercise helps, diet is the key.”

Parents need to be aware of the statistics, so they can take the necessary actions regarding diet and exercise habits to preserve the health of their children and themselves.

It is common for obesity to develop in children at the ages of five and six, and also during adolescence. Being severely overweight as a child, or especially an adolescent, can negatively impact self-esteem and make adolescents more vulnerable to ridicule by their peers.

This often leads to depression and other social and emotional problems among these teens.

In contrast to the mental effects of obesity there are, of course, damaging physical effects to consider. These include sudden loss of breath, diabetes, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, advises, “Government could start by changing agricultural subsidies, by not making it financially attractive for companies to market unhealthy foods, by placing serious restrictions on marketing to children, and with financial policies that make healthy foods cost less and unhealthy foods cost more.”

This way, parents would be able to afford healthier foods for themselves and their children without the worry of higher costs. However, parents need to be more in control of what their children take in for food, instead of complying with the constant pleas for cookies, chips, candy and sodas.

You can read more of this article by visiting Cartersville Patch online.

Source: Cartersville Patch

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