Your instinct as a mom is to feed and indulge your kids, but too much of a good thing leads to weight gain. Overweight kids suffer health issues and problems with self-esteem, so keeping them on a healthy track is the best form of love. Changing eating and exercise habits involves the entire family, and forming a plan of action gives you the best change of long-term success.
Childhood obesity is a problem in the United States. Approximately 17 percent of young people between 2 and 19 years old are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which cites the results of a 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Kids increasingly lead sedentary lives today, as computers replace playgrounds for recreation. Sugary sodas and processed snack foods add to the problem by increasing calorie count without adding much nutrition.
Obesity causes problems in children most often associated with adults, says the Mayo Clinic. Type 2 diabetes shows up in overweight children. Diabetes leads to life-long health problems including heart disease and circulatory problems. Some children even have increased levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure, both risk indicators for heart attack and stroke in adults. Overweight kids suffer from decreased stamina during physical activities and suffer breathing problems and asthma-like symptoms more often than healthy-weight kids suffer.
Overweight kids face mental health issues as well as physical challenges due to their weight. Teasing from peers harms a kids self-esteem and confidence. Even when they lose weight later in life, the negative self-image might prove harder to shed, leading to unhealthy eating habits and other issues.
Healthy family lifestyles help prevent your kid from becoming overweight. Make rules about snacking and set limits on sugary sodas or time spent watching television slumped on a sofa. Help the cause by setting out bowls of healthy snacks such as raw veggies and hummus dip, or sliced apples and pears, so your kid snacks on nutritious foods. Solving the problem of obesity in your kids is complicated. Joining in the effort by changing any unhealthy eating patterns you have helps. Encouraging fun physical activity your kid enjoys gets him moving and burning calories.
Weight gain usually results from eating too much and burning off too few calories, but talk with your physician if you feel other issues cause your kid’s weight gain. Certain medications might affect your kid’s weight, as might psychological issues that cause overeating.