Friday, November 01, 2013

Will Your Kids Die Young Because Of Obesity?

Obese Kids Now Numbers Three Times The Rate Of Last Generation

LABELLE, FL. -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the U.S., triple the rate from just one generation ago.

Pat Dobbins of the Hendry-Glades Health Department says, "We all want out children to be healthy, so let’s take the time to encourage children in our communities to develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime."

Dobbins suggest parents try to make smarter choices for family meals by consuming healthier foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood. Also try to consume less sodium, saturated and trans-fats, added sugars, and refined grains. 

Lifestyles of today’s generation are linked to increases in overweight and obese kids. Some of these lifestyles include:

Access to “fast food” – It’s quick, cheap and easy.
Using electronic gadgets – It contributes to our children’s lack of exercise.
Constant advertisements – Children are constantly bombarded with advertising for sugar and high fat foods.
Changes in school lunches - School lunch choices are not as healthy as they used to be. Many vending machines in schools sell unhealthy snacks and sodas. (But this is slowly changing)
Lack of physical education in schools – Programs such as P.E. are limited due to increased budget cuts and concentration on FCAT scores.
Less “play-time” outside - Children don’t play outside like we did years ago due to safety concerns.

Health risks now - Childhood obesity can have a harmful effect on the body in a variety of ways. Obese children are more likely to have:
High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma.
Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.
Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (heartburn, “puke-burps”).
Obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.

Health risks later - Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.

Recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) include:

Children under the age of two should be allowed no “screen viewing time” (this includes tv’s, computers, portable players, etc)
Children under the age of two should not be given fruit juice, which has high concentrated levels of sugar.
Children should not be given favored waters and artificially sweetened drinks.
Children should not be given snacks prior to their meals.

For more information about healthier eating and the prevention of childhood obesity, please visit the CDC website:

Photo courtesy: Walter Siegmund/wikipedia

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