The percentage of obese or overweight children in America has roughly doubled between 1971 and 2000. The prevalence of overweight and obese children has increased from 15% in 1971 to more than 30% in 2000.
Health problems increase with obesity on a rise. Obesity among children is a health crisis in the United States and a terrifying reality. Some experts claim that if something is not done to stop childhood obesity immediately we will witness a whole generation becoming twice as heavy as its parents and grandparents were, with this gain of weight other health risks are becoming more and more evident and have a huge effect on larger groups.
So what should we as parents do?
It would be unrealistic to think of eliminating television from your child’s life, though this is a popular concept. There are many programs on television these days that are beneficial to your child’s development. According to many reports watching television is the most engaging activity, except sleeping, for many kids. Although, as a result, kids who spend more time watching television also eat more of the low-nutrient and calorie-dense foods.
Any outdoor activity that is fun will teach a young child to love and appreciate what lies outside the 40″ Sony television set. It has also been found that children who watch more than five hours of television a day are almost five times more likely to be overweight than children who watch two hours or less – with excessive TV viewing considered to contribute to 60 percent of the risk of obesity in children.
Parents can set a good example by providing healthy meals and not eating junk food themselves, but it’s important to allow some treats, as being over strict is likely to cause friction and could be counterproductive.
It is clear that any long-term solution for obese or overweight children in America must be fought on four major fronts: physical activity, sedentary behavior, socioeconomic status, and eating habits. This is easier said than done; especially when emotional eating or an unobserved food addiction may fuel adverse eating habits.
Children’s lifestyles are generally a reflection of those who raise them so parents need to figure heavily in any strategies put forward to improve the health and well being of the next generation.