By: Lucile Godek, Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living Fall 2012
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.
In the USA, fast food has taken a toll on children’s health. Because of eating more and more fast food, child obesity is growing rapidly. It is also one of the primary reasons for what causes teen obesity.
Parents must cook nutritionally balanced meals, virtually eliminate snacks high in fat and sugar, teach portion control, pack healthy lunches, avoid fast food and help their children increase levels of physical activity. Parents must teach by doing, which means parents must also follow a nutritional and exercise plan that leads to a healthy weight.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM, Flegal KM. Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007–2008. Journal of the American Medical Association 2010;303(3):242–249.