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Protect Children from Obesity

Childrens Health > Protect Children from Obesity

Obese children are at risk. Not only are they prone to developing many undesirable medical conditions, they are also subject to emotional conditions.

Children are not immune to diseases related to obesity such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These were all thought to be adult issues, but have now spilled over into our younger generation of pleasingly plump to grossly overweight children.

Obese children are often teased by peers. Sometimes other children reject them or bully them. The stigma attached to obesity is often slapped on children very early – as early as preschool.

Unhealthy diet habits develop early in children and obese youth are more likely than average-weight children to develop eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. They are prone to depression and sometimes turn to substance abuse in hopes of finally feeling better.

Being overweight can cause a child to have difficulty breathing while trying to perform different exercises. Because of this, they are less likely to exercise and more likely to become even more obese. Sometimes they suffer trouble with bones and joints. A higher incidence of disordered sleep patterns has been noted in obese children. They are also at significant risk of hypertension and lipid problems. If they continue to be overweight throughout their lives, they have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and even liver problems.

Depression is another condition that sometimes plagues children who are obese.

If your child is obese, take an active role in helping him or her to face this physical problem and make changes in daily behaviors and activities to lose weight and get healthier. Here are a few ways you can help your obese child. Before you create a weight-loss or exercise plan for a child, consult with a physician and discuss your ideas.

As a team you, your physician and your child can beat obesity:

• Enroll the child in civic and school sports programs.
• Buy a bicycle for the child and for yourself, ride together daily.
• Talk about healthy foods and non-healthy foods and help your child weigh the decision of what to eat and what to avoid.
• Set the child up for success by eliminating junk food from your cupboards and refrigerator. Replace it with healthy snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt and whole grain breads and cereals.
• Talk to your child about emotional issues that might be bothering him or her and causing her to want to eat more.
• Lead your child by example. Eat a good diet and exercise regularly to encourage your child to do the same.
• Celebrate every small success. Compliment your child regularly when he or she makes a choice in the name of good health.
• Encourage your child to drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day.

Childrens Health > Protect Children from Obesity