It’s estimated that obese children make up between 5 and 25 percent of all children in the United States. That’s a staggering number of severely overweight kids. And it’s frightening, consider that the number of obese children keeps rising.
Obese children are unfortunately at a higher risk for illness and disease than kids who aren’t overweight. While an obese child close weight and grow up to be a normal weight adult, the likelihood of obese kids growing up to be overweight and obese adults is pretty high.
Being obese as a kid raises the risk of developing Type II diabetes, which in most cases is preventable with a healthy diet and good exercise habits. It also increases the risk of adult heart disease, joint problems and high blood pressure.
There’s even a special type of high blood pressure heavy kids get. It’s referred to as pediatric hypertension. This is when a child’s blood pressure is too high, and it’s usually caused by the child being obese.
Obese kids face serious health consequences from their heavy childhoods. So what can be done to prevent and reverse childhood obesity? To learn how to stop it, it can help for you to see what causes it in the first place.
A child’s risk of becoming obese is greatly elevated if he or she has obese parents. If both parents are obese the risk is very high. With one obese parent the risk is elevated but not as high as if both parents are very heavy.
This is a factor because of the obvious eating patterns within the family. If both parents are obese, they’re probably not setting a good example as far as nutrition and exercises. And since the child will be served the meals that the adults eat, it’s easy to see how it could be easy for a child to gain weight.
And heredity does play a role. While heredity can’t in itself make a child fat, if many family members had weight issues it can show a natural predisposition toward gaining weight and having those related health problems.
Obese children also spend a lot of hours each week doing passive activities instead of actively playing and getting exercise. Watching television seems to be the biggest offender with heavy kids often spending several hours each day just watching television.
Factor in time spent playing video games and on the Internet, and there’s not much time left for physical activities. The new breed of video games that get people up and moving around may help, but it’s hard to counteract several hours of sitting still watching television each day.
For obese kids, the best thing parents can do is set good examples. Serving healthy, nutritious meals while watching things like calories and carbs is important. Scheduling family activities that keep everyone physically active and making fitness priority can set the stage for healthier kids. Obese children need adult guidance to help them make healthier lifestyle choices and lose weight to protect their future health and happiness.