The Link to Sugary Drinks and Childhood Obesity

December 3rd, 2014 by Grace Giles No comments »

An article posted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that there may be a correlation between the increase in childhood obesity and consumption of sugary beverages. This article also suggested that boys aged 12-19 years of age consume an average of 22.0 ounces of full-calorie soda drinks per day and girls consume an average of 14.3 ounces per day. This is twice their average daily intake of milk. With the childhood obesity epidemic gaining momentum, moderating the amount of sugar-beverages that today’s youth are consuming would be immensely beneficial.

To counteract the obesity epidemic, parents and guardians should moderate or all together eliminate sugary-beverages from their  child’s diet. While the sweet taste may be momentarily pleasing, the long term effects largely out weigh the benefits. Sugary beverages do not just include soda. They also encompass most sports drinks as well as fruit juices. Fruit juice may have nutritional benefits but the sugar content is also through the roof. The CDC suggests increasing the consumption of water and low-fat or fat-free milk, which also provide the body with much needed vitamins and minerals. Sugary beverages do very little to promote good health and bone growth. This is especially important in children who are growing and maturing.

A simple solution would be to cease purchasing such sugary beverages in the first place. Without the temptation, positive changes are sure to be made. In addition, this method will decrease the extra cost of purchasing these beverages each week. It is also important to provide your child with an effective role model. This means that you, the parent or guardian, should be living by example. At such an impressionable age children are more likely to follow suit if they have an effective role model to follow.

Childhood obesity is preventable and by no means permanent. Simple changes in your child’s day to day life will affect their life for the better, and there’s no day like today to begin implementing them.

Packed Lunches Help to Fight Against Childhood Obesity

December 1st, 2014 by Grace Giles No comments »

As a growing topic of interest in the health field, childhood obesity has become an epidemic. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated in 2012 that more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. This is mainly due to a “caloric imbalance”. When too few calories are expended for the amount of calories consumed, weight gain is inevitable. While many factors may be to blame, one prevention tactic involves healthier eating habits. Today’s school lunch lines may provide several options but the healthy one is least likely to be chosen. As the decision makers for your little ones, it is the responsibility of the parents and guardians to initiate and reinforce healthy eating habits. A suggestion to counteract this would be to send a packed lunch with your child for lunch.

The CDC has proven that healthy eating has been show to help reduce the likelihood of developing obesity, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, and even dental cavities. In addition, in such a prime time for development, proper nutrition helps to promote optimal growth in children. While it may be more convenient to simply hand your son or daughter a $5 bill for lunch, it is more beneficial to take the time to prepare a well-thought out, nutritional menu. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offer a guide tool known as ChooseMyPlate. When looking for suggestions of healthy lunch options, this is a great resource to consider using. It also provides a supertracker for daily caloric intake as well as suggestions for daily food plans and worksheets based on the target age group. As seen in the image, a well balanced diet should contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy.

Packing a lunch each day would be more time consuming than handing a wad of cash to your child, but in the long run you may be saving them from a life time of health concerns. Taking thirty minutes to prepare your child’s lunch would be well worth the time spent. Prepared meals allow you, the parent or guardian, to control what your child is or is not eating. At such a young and impressionable age, children are easily swayed especially when they are not given an option.

Implementing this one small change in the lives of our youth would make a lasting difference. Obese children are at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes later on in life. For some, onset may occur before they are even a full grown adult. That is why it is so vital to encourage a positive change in the eating habits of our youth.

Put Down the Controller and Pick Up the Pace

December 1st, 2014 by Grace Giles No comments »

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that in the last 30 years childhood obesity has nearly doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents. Some may wonder why there is such an alarming increase. This may be due to the way our youth are deciding to spend their leisure time. Instead of playing outside and being physically active, children are more likely to settle for electronic gaming or other devices. Before electronics took the forefront, children were playing hide-and-go-seek and capture the flag in their free time. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children ages 6-17 years of age participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, which is often not obtained in this current day and age. The level of activity contributes to a higher metabolism and therefore lower rate of obesity in children and adolescents.

As a parent or guardian to young children, there are definitely benefits to allowing your children to interact with electronic gaming and other devices. It creates a distraction for your child; therefore allowing you to complete whatever tasks may need tackling. However, this distraction can be obtained without creating a stationary situation. Instead, limit your child’s electronic time and encourage them child to play outdoors or even join a recreational sports team. Doing so will not only allow you the free time to accomplish your to-do list, but it will also promote a healthier lifestyle for your child. Below is a list of fun, cost-effective activities suggested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will keep your child both happy and healthy:

  • Hopscotch
  • Hide-and-go-seek
  • Capture the flag
  • Jump-rope
  • Double-dutch
  • Freeze tag
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Frisbee
  • Volleyball

Each of these activities involves minimal equipment and will occupy your children for hours. It will also allow your child to interact with other siblings or children in a healthy environment while also teaching them vital skills such as sharing and how to be a team player.

Physical activity in children has also proven to improve strength and endurance as well as help build healthy muscle and bones. Along with the management of weight control, physical activity reduces anxiety and stress as well as increases a child’s self-esteem. Simple changes in the way a child spends their free time can make all the difference. As their parent or guardian, you have the power to aid in that change.

Health Concerns Linked to Childhood Obesity

November 29th, 2014 by Grace Giles No comments »

The childhood obesity epidemic has become of major concern within the last few years. A child is considered obese if their body mass index (BMI) falls above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex. Some may think it is just a phase and that their child will outgrow this but it is so much more than that. Children who struggle with obesity are at a greater risk for developing both physical and psychological conditions down the road. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that 16.9% of children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 were obese for the year 2007-2008.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that obese children are at a much more significant risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and increased cholesterol levels than children in a healthier weight range. More specifically, they are at risk for developing Coronary heart disease, hypertension, cancer, dyslipidemia, stroke, liver and gall bladder disease, and sleep apnea just to name a few. These individuals are also more likely to suffer from insulin resistant type-2 diabetes. This condition requires a lifetime of maintenance and can even be debilitating if not properly managed.

In addition to physical conditions, these individuals are also more susceptible to various psychological issues. Children who are obese battle with negative body image and a lower self-esteem. As a result, their academic and social progress may also suffer. These children are also often bullied, especially in grade school.

Obesity may be the linking piece between overweight children and future health risks; however, it is not necessarily the culprit of these future health concerns. These conditions develop due to the root of the problem, poor diet and a lack of exercise. It is never too late to wage war on the childhood obesity epidemic. These children have their whole lives ahead of them so let’s start them off on the right foot to leading happy and healthy lives.