Health Tips for Children

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Kids Nutrition-Childhood Obesity

This post will deal with facts about kids nutrition as it relates to childhood obesity,  plus  causes and prevention of what has become an epidemic.

By  eating out in fast food restaurants and consuming junk food at home and in school,  a huge number of kids today lack the nourishment their bodies require for healthy growth and development.

Add to this,  inactivity from over-watching TV and being glued to electronic games, and we now are faced with a generation of kids  whose habits have led to the obese child now showing up in  epidemic proportions!

Those life style choices can lead to adult diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Previously only showing up in adults,  these illnesses are now being diagnosed in children!

Because of the health complications childhood obesity can cause, scientists predict that this generation of children will be the first to die at an earlier age than their parents!

Starting at a young age, kids can tell the difference between “fat” and “thin” people.  Even they realize that fat people tend to be less popular.

Studies show that overweight children ages 6 and older tend to have fewer friends, are less involved with extracurricular activities, are more depressed, and have lower self esteem than thinner kids.  It may also have an effect  on lifelong success or failure.

Because of the above facts about the obese child,  no one wants to be fat.  Thin is in…especially today.  TV and print constantly feature skinny models which forms society’s attitude about body weight.  Even young children are conscious about their weight.

Being overweight is unhealthy, but added to that, the loathing attached to body fat can lead to dangerous eating disorders such as anorexia.

Kids Nutrition-Childhood Obesity Stats

In the U.S. one child in four is overweight and this number continues to grow.  Over the last two decades, this number has increased by more than 50% and the number of extremely overweight children has nearly doubled.  (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995: 149: 1085-91)

Kids Nutrition-Risks to the Obese Child

Kids have fewer weight-related health problems than adults, but overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults.

Overweight adults are at high risk for a number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers.

Overweight children are at an increased risk of many immediate health disorders including kidney disease, hip and ankle problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and inflammation of the pancreas. –Laura Muha

Additional risks to the obese child are that they are nearly twice as likely to grow up to be obese adults.  And a child who keeps the weight on through adolescence and into adulthood has a good chance of developing serious medical problems, according to Gerald Berenson, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Tulane University Medical School and a lead researcher of one of the longest-running studies on childhood obesity and heart disease.

“By the time they’re teens, many have the beginnings of heart disease or diabetes” – Gerald Berenson, M.D.

Other risks of childhood obesity include early puberty, common among both overweight boys and girls has been linked to breast cancer in women later in life.

And cancer of the ovaries, uterus, colon, rectum, and prostate are also more common in obese adults.

In addition, annual hospital costs associated with obesity-related diseases in children are soaring and continue to skyrocket.

Causes Relating to the Obese Child

The most common causes are overeating and/or unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity and genetic factors or a combination of these factors.

Rarely is a medical problem the cause. Genetic factors play a role in increasing the chances that a child will be overweight, but shared family behaviors such as eating and activity habits also influence body weight.

Both a child’s total diet and activity level play important roles in determining the cause for childhood obesity.  Today the popularity of  TV, the computer and video games all lead to their inactive lifestyles.

The average American child spends approximately 24 hours weekly watching television, so different from kids a generation ago where they were actively playing with friends outdoors.

Busy parents have less time to plan and prepare wholesome meals.  Added to this, there is the constant barrage of ads for processed, high fat, high-sugar junk foods which are quick, easy and they make them taste great.

To see what nutrition our children are actually getting from eating at fast-food restaurants, click: McDonalds Nutrition Facts

When eating out, restaurants now serve oversized portions, adding another cause for childhood obesity.

If  you think your child is overweight, let his pediatrician determine it.

According to the Surgeon General, childhood obesity is the number one health concern.”
– Dr. William Sears


Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity


Here is a good-sized list of ways to prevent childhood obesity:

  • For families with overweight children, major changes must be made in Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition.  It has to be a family affair.
  • Set a no-gain goal: stay the same weight for 2 years-takes pressure off.
  • Never talk about “weight control or fat.” Ask what the child’s major change-wish is. If it’s to run faster & not get tired, explain that the extra weight is like carrying around a bunch of weights.  Have the child carry a 5 lb. bag of canned goods in each arm for a few minutes.
  • Teach your kid  about “grow foods” (fruits & vegetables, lowfat yogurt and fish. They’re free foods-eat all you want. They keep you running faster, make you strong, have pretty hair & skin.  (answer depends on the change the child wants to make.)
  • Non-grow foods (those that keep you from running fast) are packaged foods like french fries, pastries and sweetened drinks.
  • Have your child read labels to recognize the 2 bad words:  corn syrup and hydrogenated.  Overconsumption  of sweetened beverages seems to be the major contributor to childhood obesity.
  • Get children moving-have watching TV equal the amount of time spent at physical activity
  • Downsize food portions-serve small portions of nutritious food on the plate-no serving bowls. Also teach children to take smaller bites and chew them longer. This discourages overeating. Dr. William Sears-The Lean Kids’ Program
  • Be supportive-let your kid know he’s okay. Children need you to be supportive, accepting and encouraging.
  • Focus on family-don’t single out your overweight child.  Gradually change the family’s eating habits and physical activities.
  • Increase your family’s physical activity: be a role model for your kid.  What you do, they copy.  Help your child find physical activities that they enjoy and that aren’t embarrassing or too difficult.
  • Teach your family healthy eating habits. Offer kids healthy options, allowing them to choose what and how much they eat.
  • DON’T place your child on a restrictive diet unless a doctor supervises one for health reasons.
  • Guide family choices rather than dictate foods-have a wide variety of healthful foods available in your home
  • Eat meals together as a family as often as possible
  • Involve children in food shopping and meal preparation
  • Plan for snacks at specific times that are part of a nutritious diet.
  • Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV
  • Do not use food as a reward or punishment
  • Check that your child’s meals outside the home are balanced.  Learn more about the school lunch program
  • To reduce the weight in the large kids in your family,  set a good example by eating a variety of healthy foods and being physically active; your kids will learn healthy lifestyle habits they can follow the rest of their lives.

These are only some of the many ways to boost kids nutrition and prevent childhood obesity.  I’m sure you can come up with more solutions, and put into place, we can reduce such future facts about the obese child.

For more info about keeping your kids healthy, click:
Childrens Health Issues


To read a list of all my articles in this blog, click: Here


There are many areas of our well being that can be made better by  just making a small change here and there.  I decided to reach out to people interested in improving their family’s general health by offering some simple, helpful tips and  intend to cover a wide variety of areas in children’s health.

I hope you find the tips useful and as a result, help improve the health of your family and our planet.  Being involved in the health and wellness field over the past 28 years, I work to make a positive impact on the lives of my clients and their families in the area of wellness.  It is my goal to help make a difference for anyone who desires improved health.


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