Take charge of your child’s weight
Childhood obesity is rapidly becoming a major concern in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the past 30 years, the rate of obesity in children has tripled. There are many health risks for children associated with this disease, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, joint problems, and social and psychological problems, like becoming the target of bullying and developing low self-esteem. And there are even more serious concerns as they become adults. Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, putting them at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
So how can you keep your child at a healthy weight? There are many strategies parents can use to keep their kids happy and healthy:
- encourage more physical activity and limit your kids’ access to TV, video games, computers, cell phones and movies
- offer smaller portion sizes – over time, portion sizes have increased in restaurants, grocery stores and vending machines, and children have been eating more without realizing it
- offer healthier foods like fruits and vegetables and limit your child’s intake of sugary snacks and drinks. Sugary drinks are thought to be the largest contributor of excess calories and sugar
- get involved – work with your child’s school to promote healthier eating habits by limiting foods with high fat, sugar and salt content in school lunches
How do you tell if your child is overweight or obese? It’s determined by body mass index (BMI), which uses your child’s age, sex, height, and weight to determine their weight status by where they fall by percentile. A child’s BMI is calculated differently than an adult’s because their body composition varies depending on their age and sex. Calculate your child’s BMI now.
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