Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Child Obesity on the Rise: What Can Be Done?

In the past three decades, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in teenagers. From 1980 to 2012, the percentage of obese children aged 6 to 11 in America increased from seven to eighteen percent while the percentage of obese teenagers aged 12 to 19 increased from five to twenty percent.

What Exactly Causes Obesity?
Obesity comes about as a result of caloric imbalance, which means that you gain weight when you consume more calories than you expend.

There are a number of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors that can play a role in obesity. The condition is not considered a disease. However, there is no denying that it is a major problem in the United States.

Obesity heightens the risk for many types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and osteoarthritis.

What Can Be Done?
The sooner children and teenagers can instill healthy lifestyle habits, including a nutritious balanced diet and regular physical activity, the less likely they are to become obese and develop related diseases.

  • At Home:

  • These habits start at home and school. Parents must establish routine meal times with nutritious offerings and sensible portions.

    As a parent, practice what you preach. Join your kids at the table for meals and make smart eating choices.

    Involving children in the process of buying, growing, and preparing food allows them to take ownership of their eating. When kids have selected foods and assisted with gardening and cooking, there is a greater likelihood of them eating and enjoying their food.

  • At School:
  • Schools can also play a critical role in helping students establish and maintain healthy eating and exercising habits. They must cultivate safe, supportive environments with practices and policies that support these habits. Students should be able to learn about and carry through with healthy eating and physical activity on a regular basis at school.