Childhood obesity is an enormous problem in today’s society. Pun intended. Obesity rates in the past 3 decades have tripled. Children in the United States are at significantly higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Not only does this cause health issues later in life, but it causes children to lead very unfulfilling lives.
In the past 20 years, obese American children aged 6-11 has more than DOUBLED. 6.5% in 1980 to 17% in 2000. The rate among adolescents aged 12-19 has more than TRIPLED! 5% in 1980 to 17.6% in 2000.
Let’s look at some more terrifying numbers:
1 out of every 3: children that are overweight.
30%: Cost of healthcare increases.
1/3: Number of children who participate in daily physical activity.
33%: Number of children who watch MORE than 3 hours of TV per day.
50%: amount of recommended vegetables kids are actually consuming.
1/3: amount of meals children consume that are ‘fast food’.
32%: number of 12-19 years olds who were overweight in 2012
70%: of obese youth are at risk for cardiovascular disease
8-13: the age coronary arteries begin to change
17%: of 2-19 year olds were obese in 2012
2-6: weight status at this age is the most important preidctor of adult weight status
Childhood obesity comes with MANY complications.
Psychological: stress and anxiety, eating disorder risks, poor self-esteem, poor social skills, and social isolation.
Pulmonary: Asthma, exercise intolerance, sleep disorders, sleep apnea
Gastrointestinal: fatty liver, gall stones, acid reflux
Musculoskeletal: bone and joint disorders, flat feet, Blout’s disease, femoral epiphysis
Endocrine: Diabetes, early puberty, PCOS (females), Hypogonadism (males)
Renal: Kidney disease, glomerusclerosis, Kidney failure
Cardiovascular: Hypertension, Heart disease, blood clots, high cholesterol, endothelial dysfunction.
Central: fatigue, skin infections, skin rashes
BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT???
- Keep an eye on the Daily Recommended Intakes for children. Boys and girls aged 2-3 should consume about 1,000 calories per day. 45-65% of these calories should come from carbohydrates, 30-40% should come from fats, and 5-20% should come from protein. Children aged 4-5 years of age should consume between 1,200 (females)-1,400 (males) calories per day. 45-65% of these calories should come from carbohydrates, 25-35% should come from fat, and 10-30% should come from proteins.
- PLAY! Children aged 2 and older should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Choose fat-free milk or water over sugary soft drinks.
- Encourage your kids to participate in after-school sports or a physical education program.
- Replace sugary snacks with fruits or whole grain options.
- Be a health and fitness role model! Families cannot change their genes, but you can change the environment your children grow up in.
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If you have any questions or concerns regarding the health of your child or yourself, I am always available for consultations! Email me anytime!