Healthy habits should be formed when we are young, but in today’s culture, that’s not always necessarily the case. A report by the CDC this year found that 1 out of 5 children in the United States are obese. While there is not a quick solution, for National Childhood Obesity Month, we wanted to help spread awareness about how harmful this disease can be and how, as a community, we can help promote healthy lifestyles.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. This number is often used by doctors to determine if you are at risk for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. With children, you must also plot the measurement on the BMI-for-age percent graph to find a child’s weight status. To calculate, here are charts to use:
When any unhealthy habit is started at a young age, it can lead to many more problems as you get older. When children are obese, there are often mental health as well as physical effects, including:
- High blood pressure and cholesterol, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
- Increase of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Difficulty breathing properly, asthma and sleep apnea. With the coronavirus, this can also mean they are at a higher risk of not being able to fight off the disease.
- Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.
- Fatty liver disease, gallstones and gastro-esophageal reflux aka heartburn.
- Lead to anxiety and depressions.
- Low self-esteem and low self-reported quality of life.
- Social problems such as being bullied and facing stigma.
There are many factors that can lead a child to obesity besides bad eating habits. A lack of physical activity, genetics, metabolism and their family and home life can all increase a person’s risk of becoming obese. According to the CDC, obesity can be influenced by:
- Too much time spent being inactive.
- Lack of sleep.
- Lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity.
- Easy access to inexpensive, high-calorie foods and sugary beverages.
- Lack of access to affordable, healthier foods.
How to Help
Parents are their children’s main source of influence when it comes to forming habits. Give them access to nutritious snacks such as fruits and veggies. Drink water in your house in place of high sugar drinks. Start a family tradition of a walk after school or dinner. Schedule outdoor activities to stimulate their mind and help them find a love for physical activity. Encourage your kids to put down their phones before bed and spend time reading instead.
If you want to be a role model for your children by changing your lifestyle and getting back in shape, we may be able to help. Our medical weight loss program is custom made per person, including meal plans that could be beneficial for the whole family! To learn more call us at 816-214-5276 or visit http://bit.ly/2R9I5IY!