Childhood Obesity Impact - What You Need to Know About Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is now so prevalent that it is being considered an epidemic.
According to the National Institutes of Health, "The number of children who are overweight has doubled in the last two to three decades; currently one child in five is overweight."
Childhood obesity is not limited to a particular age group or race -- it's prevalent during youth and adolescence among both boys and girls in every race.
While children do not experience as many medical issues related to obesity as adults, obesity during childhood can be emotionally scarring. Children who experience psychological abuse from their peers often develop extremely low self-esteem, which may eventually evolve into depression. Obese children often feel isolated and lonely.
Because of this alienation, they often may fail to develop key life and social skills, which can negatively-affect their lives well into adolescence, or even adulthood.
A child's confidence is significantly affected by self-image and the perception of peers. The way an insecure child feels about herself can be entirely determined by her concept of what those around her think.
The bottom line Even if a child seems to be physically healthy in spite of being overweight, the emotional and mental impact can be devastating.
The chief cause of childhood obesity is ever-worsening eating habits. The American Obesity Association found that nearly 30 percent of parents say their children eat less nutritiously than they did during their own childhood.
Eating well-balanced, home-cooked meals together has become a thing of the past for many families. Instead, we often rely on fast food ... it's cheap and convenient ... and fattening.
Another important factor is lack of activity thanks to TV, computers, and video games. TV in particular has been shown to have a direct effect: Recent research showed girls who watch more than two hours of television a day are more than twice as likely to become overweight as those who watch less.
We all know how out-of-control portions are for entrees in restaurants. But even dishes for the under 10 crowd offer more food than they used to. Fast food restaurants offer "upsized" kids meals like "Big Kids" meals.
It's easier to keep tabs on portions at home. Remember the old standards of portion size: a deck of playing cards is a serving of meat? Serve a variety of healthful foods in smaller portions rather than larger portions of filling foods (like mac and cheese).
Of course, when you make portions smaller, second helpings will be on-demand. Seconds can be totally acceptable when healthful foods are chosen. Help your child learn which foods are the best choice.
Zap -- Good Nutrition Goes Up in Smoke!
Another key problem with children's diets is the reliance on pre-prepared, heavily processed foods. It is all-too convenient to get by with frozen, microwaveable meals which are often very high in fat, calories and sodium.
It may be easy and less time-consuming to zap dinner, but are you really doing yourself -- or your kids -- any favors ?
Temptation at Every Turn
Junk food is marketed to children on television commercials just as regularly as toys.
Many children have never known a time when candy and soda pop vending machines weren't on-site. Cafeterias have given way to fast food chains in some schools.
Temptation to indulge in unhealthy food is literally everywhere for today's child. Help your child learn that these foods are treats; they're not forbidden, but they're not something to eat daily.
The Low-Down on Liquid Calories
Soft drink consumption in and of itself has been shown to have a significant impact on childhood obesity. Harvard researchers conducted a long-term study focusing on soda consumption and its impact on children's body weight.
Researchers found that 57 percent of the children studied increased their daily intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks; the results showed that "the odds of becoming obese increased 1.6 times for each additional can or glass of sugar-sweetened soft drink consumed above the daily average."
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