September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, where the goal is to bring awareness to the rising national epidemic. This month provides a great platform for people, especially the parents of overweight children, to have a conversation about the dangers of obesity. Research shows one in three children are considered obese or overweight, and the United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.
Childhood obesity affects more than 30% of children with no sign of slowing down. The amount of obese children in the United States has nearly tripled since 1980. Childhood obesity is considered a health issue and is the most common chronic disease affecting children.
A child is considered obese when their BMI-for-age percentile is greater than 95%. Similarly, if a child’s BMI-for-age is greater than 85%, they are considered overweight, but over 95% is considered obese. BMI stands for body mass index, which takes your weight and divides it by height to get your number.
If a child’s BMI-for-age percentile is greater than 85%, they are considered overweight, and a BMI-for-age is over 95%, they are considered obese. BMI stands for body mass index and is determined by taking weight and dividing it by height. Childhood obesity brings a myriad of health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, hypertension, and even cancer. Obesity can affect a child’s emotional development as well, as their self esteem can be impacted due to bullying and non acceptance from their peers. These children often suffer from depression and may be outcasted in school.
There are many different causes to childhood obesity and the world we live in can be a major factor. The constant barrage of advertisements promoting fast food and junk food on television is geared towards children who do not realize it is bad for them. Children are not eating healthy, and depending on genetics, it can greatly affect them and cause weight gain.
Television and video games have grown in popularity, preventing children from being as active as they should be at their age. It is not uncommon for children to stay home for a majority of the day playing video games and snacking, unlike earlier generations where children played more outside.
Along with a sedentary lifestyle, genetics can also plays a role in childhood obesity, though these two factors alone aren’t the only thing determining whether a child will be overweight. Children often emulate their parents, and if they see them leading an unhealthy lifestyle, they are more likely to do the same. Good eating habits need to be taught at home as it is becoming harder for children to learn these habits in a school environment.
If you or your child are obese, it’s important to speak with your physician as there are many treatment and prevention options available.
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