Created: 16 February 2011 | Written by Dr. Wilson for Citrus County Chronicle
The 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) estimates 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are not just overweight, but obese. Childhood obesity is associated with serious health problems that ordinarily occur much later in life including elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, abnormal glucose tolerance, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Obese children are more likely to suffer from asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, early onset of Type 2 diabetes, and excessive accumulation of fat in the liver (hepatic steatosis). Obese children and adolescents are likely to become obese as adults. In addition to these physical problems, overweight and obese children are more likely to be teased, bullied or ostracized in school and to suffer from low self-esteem.Genetics, environment, and behavior all contribute to childhood obesity. Obesity occurs when a child consumes more calories than his or her body needs to support normal growth and development, metabolism, and physical activity.
A combination of too many sweet and calorie-rich foods, poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle causes children to become overweight. Childhood obesity can be reversed when the family, pediatrician, and community work together to initiate good eating habits, change attitudes towards food, and encourage more physical activity.
You can start today with a few simple steps:
Remember that your children follow your example. As your lifestyle becomes healthier, so will theirs.