Childhood Obesity Prevention: Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
In the past decade, childhood obesity has become listed as an epidemic in the United States. This begs the question of how as a country can childhood obesity prevention be achieved? While we know that obesity is a very controllable condition, it is still a very rampant issue. About 20% of children are considered obese. That is about 1 in 5 children. Click to read about what exactly is obesity, and how to prevent this from happening.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a medical condition in which there is a large amount of fat in the body that compromises most other body functions. This large amount of fat resides under the skin, and around organs. The fat itself adds much volume and pressure onto surrounding organs. Added weight also affects the joints, this makes it that much harder to exercise, and makes a smaller range of motion than an average body type. The extra weight also makes the lungs work much harder at supplying oxygen to the surrounding organs. Heavier people tend to take more breaths than the average person, and their pulse is usually much higher. Pulse rate is related to how fit someone is. An incredibly fit athlete can have a resting heart rate of about 40 beats per minute. At this point, your body is maximizing the efficacy of blood flow. Conversely, those with high blood pressure have hypertension. There are several other ailments people who are obese, or even overweight are more susceptible to getting.
Diseases Associated With Obesity
As stated above, science has stated time and time again that being overweight is one of the largest risks to getting many diseases that are slightly preventable. While they are not totally preventable because environment and genetics play a huge role in someone’s risk of getting a disease, weight is usually a fairly good predictor.
People who are obese generally don’t have the best diet or nutrition. The added weight that they have and usually poor food choices can lead them to becoming diabetic. Diabetes is when the body is unable to properly regulating blood sugar levels. Insulin is either not being produced, or too little of it is being produced. This causes major complications extended to kidney failure. Symptoms of diabetes are weight loss, blurry vision, frequent urination and extreme thirst, and fatigue and having frequent infections.
While this is fairly unlikely to happen to children, children with childhood obesity who do not change their health, are very susceptible to getting heart disease. Heart disease is when the function of the heart is not working properly, and the heart is having trouble pumping blood. If the heart is unable to pump, it will go into cardiac arrest, and this is when you are having a heart attack. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women in the country, so this is especially worrisome to those who are obese.
Hypertension is a complex name for high blood pressure. High blood pressure affects
How Does Exercising Help Weight Loss?
Exercising helps to shrink fat cells, and funny enough, 60% of the fat that is removed from our cells comes out when we exhale during exercising. With proper nutrition, diet, exercise, and sleep, our body is at peak performance for weight loss. There needs to be a caloric deficit from calories consumed and calories burned from exercise. As for childhood obesity, there are so many opportunities for kids to lose weight, or get involved in a sport.
Getting Children Involved in Sports
Children naturally love to be included in social events, especially the camaraderie of being on a team. It is a great idea to get your child interested in sports. Ask them what are their hobbies, or what are they interested in learning and sign them up for the upcoming season of sports. Great non contact sports for children include swimming, diving, tennis, track and field, and gymnastics. Low contact sports include baseball, lacrosse, soccer, and basketball. Is there a sport that you child become involved in that they became very successful at?
How Does Eating Well Help?
As mentioned above, you need to not only exercise, but to also eat well. Some of the easiest steps is to replace any sugary beverage, be it soda, or juice, with water. Water keeps the body hydrated, and helps to carry out bodily functions. When children learn about diet and nutrition, they then have the skills to make smarter and healthier choices. While it is important to note that everyone should be eating well, it is not practical to give this advice. Sometimes, when there is too much pressure on someone, they will then freak out, or be intimidated from making lifestyle changes. First, approach the situation as potentially swapping out sides of fries for maybe a baked sweet potato or a piece of fruit. Rapid change in foods can also make the body’s digestion system go a little whacky. While it is important to make healthy choices for the majority of the time, it is also important to indulge. You probably know the saying “everything with moderation.” This is very important, especially for children. To feel like they aren’t neglecting their wants, it is important for children to learn that it is ok to indulge in food that some may consider as unhealthy. When not consuming more delectable items, the plat should be about half vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter starch. This is a good rule to follow. Also, let kids help make the food so they feel more involved in their nutrition and health.
Having Children Educated on Nutrition
One of the best ways to combat ignorance, is to educate with sound scientific information. While diets are changing, and some are fads, basic nutritional information has been solidified. It is important to educate children on their environment and the foods they consume. By giving children an opportunity to learn about nutrition, they can then control what they choose to eat. Educating them on healthy foods will hopefully encourage them to continue making health choices. Hopefully, this extends to them making their own lunches, or getting involved in picking seasonal produce at the store, or maybe even a farm stand. As well, teaching kids how to control what they eat, may also extend into other parts of their life, like raising their self esteem, or making good choices.
Do you know anyone who ended up beating childhood obesity? Were you yourself someone who had childhood obesity? Do you have any nutritionist tips that you can offer? Write some tips in the comment section below!