I’ve seen some headlines somewhere recently where our government is going to dabble in the question of our children being obese or overweight. I didn’t read any further as I believe that what ever our government thinks they are going to ‘improve’ upon dies a slow lingering death unless it is something that improves our ‘leaders’ lot in life.
I think most people would agree that obesity or being overweight is a significant health problem in our children in the United States today. Go to any fast food restaurant, mall or just walk down the street and you’ll see kids who fit into either of these categories.
Childhood obesity can lead to difficulty in breathing, sleep apnea, poor self-esteem, depression and bullying. Looking at the long-term affects you’ll find an increase risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, stroke and several different types of cancer. Other adult-related issues include high blood pressure and prediabetes causing problems earlier in life.
Body mass index (BMI) is used to measure children’s weight-for-height status. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has specific growth charts according to age for boys and for girls because body composition varies as they grow and develop ( for children 2 to 19).
- Overweight – BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender.
- Obesity – BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender.
Here are some risk factors that affect weight gain in children.
- Diet – If your child regularly consumes foods that are high in calories, fat and sugar, they are likely to become overweight.
- Family factors – As a parent, do not choose high-calorie convenience foods for your family. You can influence your child’s eating and exercise behaviors by being a good example.
- Family history – If your child comes from a family of overweight people, it is likely they will also gain weight, especially if high-calorie food is always available and exercise isn’t encouraged.
- Lack of exercise – Physical activity burns calories. Watching television or playing video games is more likely to lead to weight gain as physical activity is limited.
- Psychological factors – Coping with problems, dealing with emotions such as stress or fighting boredom may cause your child to overeat and gain weight.
- Socioeconomic factors – Children from low-income backgrounds are at greater risk of becoming obese if they lack resources for healthy eating and exercise.
I realize that we don’t have complete control of all of these risk factors, but I want to encourage you to control the ones that you can.
Keep your fork