As a parent or caregiver, we understand a child’s health and well-being are a top priority. We’re here to help educate you on the risks and provide tips to help prevent your child from being one in five school-aged children with obesity, which can lead to several health complications. Today, the rate of children encountering obesity is higher than it’s ever been.
According to the American Heart Association, almost 20 percent of children from the ages of 6 to 19 suffer from obesity.
How to know if your child is at risk of becoming or is suffering from obesity: If a child has a body mass index (BMI) in the 85th percentile of kids their same age and gender, they are considered overweight but if they fall in the 95th percentile they are considered obese.
Overweight children and adolescents are at risk for significant health problems both while they’re still young or even down the road as adults. Obesity also puts children at higher risk for developing other comorbidities and health complications such as:
- High blood pressure
- Colon and kidney cancers
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Gall bladder disease
- Heart and liver disease
- Respiratory problems
- Eating disorders
Overweight or obese children can also suffer from psychological damage. The Childhood Obesity Foundation states that overweight or obese children:
- Are more likely to have poor self-esteem and may feel socially isolated
- May experience social stigma
- Have high stress and anxiety and or/ depression
The positive news is that we know the causes and ways we can help prevent or reverse obesity. Parents or caregivers can assist their kids in maintaining a healthy weight by teaching healthy eating habits and offering them nutritional foods and snacks. Eating a healthy and well-balanced meal together as a family may also help encourage better eating habits. Kids are more inclined to do as such if they see that they’re not alone.
It is very important that your child knows you are trying to do what is best for them and that your concern for their health and weight are coming from a supportive and loving place.
Other ways to help prevent childhood obesity can include:
- Incorporating physical activity into their daily life
- Having them drink enough water
- Make sure they’re getting a restful sleep every night
- Having balanced meals at home and avoiding highly processed foods
Families can follow the 5-2-1-0 rule to help children achieve a healthy body:
Rule 5: eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits per day
Rule 2: no more than two hours of screen time a day
Rule 1: at least 1 hour of physical activity per day
Rule 0: no sugary drinks
As always, we’re here to help and support you and your family. Our Facility is open and ready to provide top-quality emergency care when you need it most.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, East Valley ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.