Healthy living: Children and obesity (Week 3)

July 16, 2015

judith-t-lesterA child’s environment has played a major role in shaping the habits and perceptions of children and adolescents. The prevalence of television commercials promoting unhealthy foods and eating habits is a large contributor. Today, it is estimated approximately 40 – 50 percent of every dollar that is spent on food is spent on food outside the home in restaurants, cafeterias, sporting events, etc. In addition, as portion sizes have increased, when people eat out they tend to eat a larger quantity of food (calories) than when they eat at home.
In addition, according to the American Obesity Treatment Association, children are surrounded by environmental influences that demote the importance of physical activity. The growing use of computers, increased time watching television and decreased physical education all contribute to children and adolescents living a more sedentary lifestyle which contributes to obesity in children.
An obese child has a 68 percent probability of being obese as an adult. In addition, they are at greater risk for serious medical issues such as:
• Heart disease
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes
• Sleep apnea
Aside from the clinical perspective, children who are obese face social discrimination and bullying, leading to low self-esteem and depression.
Beloved, obesity now affects nearly 18 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States, and since 1980, the number has almost tripled. The good news is there are a number of strategies communities, states, schools, and parents have used to combat the childhood obesity epidemic. As a wrap on the issue of children and obesity, the following are suggestions to parents to help combat childhood obesity:
• Visit your child care center to see if it serves healthful foods and drinks, encourage physical activity and limit screen time.
• Provide plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit foods high in solid fat and added sugars, and prepare healthier foods at family meals. Learn more at 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Healthy Recipes.
• Save money and calories by serving your family tap water instead of drinks with added sugars.

• Make sure your child gets physical activity each day.* Source; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Next Week: Conclusion

The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.