Small Changes Can Go Far in Preventing Childhood Obesity
In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents with obesity has more than tripled since 1970. Today, approximately one in five school-aged children (ages 6 to 19) is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and that figure doesn’t include children who are considered merely overweight and not obese.
According to Dr. Alka Sood, a family medicine physician with Penn State Health Medical Group in State College, Pennsylvania, children with obesity face physical, social and emotional hurdles while growing up.
“Children with obesity are more likely than their classmates to be teased or bullied and to suffer from low self-esteem, social isolation and depression,” Sood said. “They are at higher risk for other chronic health problems, including asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes, and are more likely to be obese as adults—resulting in increased risk of heart disease and other serious medical conditions.”
Kara Shifler Bowers, a registered dietitian and a project manager at Penn State PRO Wellness, recommends making small changes around the house instead of discussing weight and health with the child directly.
“Talking to children about weight has lasting consequences,” Bowers said. “Instead, implement an easy change like keeping a bowl of fruit available. One change at a time is more sustainable than a complete lifestyle overhaul.”
Source: Penn State News