Childhood Obesity
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Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity. You hear about it everywhere. There are commercials about it on television and on the radio. Its a very popular topic on mainstream talk shows; even Oprah has an episode about it at least once every season. We all know at least one overweight child, and sadly that rate is growing all the time.

Obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of fat that increases body weight by 20% or more over ones ideal body weight. Childhood obesity can be caused by emotional, physiological, and familial factors. There is, however a small percentage of genetic factors that can also cause childhood obesity such as problems of the thyroid. Although, the main cause of obesity is simply the fact that kids eat too much and dont exercise enough

Many factors, usually working in combination, increase a childs risk of being overweight. Eating a large amount of high calorie foods, like fast foods, baked goods, and vending machine snacks certainly contributes to weight gain. When buying groceries, the parents should focus on buying more fruits and vegetables and stay away from the convenience foods that are high in sugar and fat. Healthy snacks should always be available and food should never be used as a reward or a punishment. Children should not be offered sweets as a reward for finishing a meal, because this teaches them to place a higher value on desserts and may make desserts more desirable to them rather than the healthy foods.

Having a sedentary lifestyle is another factor that contributes to weight gain. Statistics show that children spend at least six and a half hours a day with some type of media, such as watching television, playing video games and chatting on the internet. Children need to have at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day and cut down the media to about 2 hours per day. The easiest way to get kids to exercise is to just get them to play games that will keep them physically active like hide and go seek or tag. Children need to be kept active not only to maintain their weight, but also to promote healthy bone and muscle growth.

Children often want to be just like their parents. So it makes sense that if the parents are seen exercising and eating right, the kids will follow suit. Children cant change their eating habits and exercise routines on their own, so its important for the rest of the family to show their support. An important part of treating obesity among children is for parents and healthcare professionals to be sensitive with the kids and focus on the positive. Small and achievable weight loss goals should be set to avoid discouragement and to allow for the normal growth process of the child.

The child should have a food record to monitor his or her daily intake. The food diary should include not only the type and quantity of food eaten, but also where it was eaten, the time of day and who else was present. The diary will be inaccurate in figuring total calories consumed but will be useful in pointing out problem foods and eating patterns. Parents should be given a guideline, keeping in mind that 3,500 calories must be eliminated by diet and exercise to lose 1 lb. It is necessary to provide parents with a specific calorie-per-day recommendation that follows guidelines for percentages of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Dietary fiber is also important, because it increases satiety and displaces fat in the diet.

Along with the rise in childhood obesity, there has been an increase in the incidence and of medical conditions in children and adolescents that were rare in the past. Pediatricians

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Overweight Child And Large Amount Of High Calorie Foods. (April 5, 2021). Retrieved from