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Childhood Obesity

Proper Nutrition Improves Childhood Obesity Statistics

January 6, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

According to the CDC, childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last thirty years. In 2010, 18% of children ages six to eleven were considered obese. Numbers like these are occurring all over the country, causing alarm among the medical community.

As these rates continue to rise, it is certain more and more children will become victims of obesity, threatening their health and their lives. Many in the medical community are working to see what can be done to stop the onslaught of this epidemic.

Through research, it has been found the foods being consumed by children are putting their health at great risk and causing weight issues like have never been seen before.

 

Childhood obesity and kid’s dietschildhood obesity

Why Is the Diet of Today’s Children Such a Concern?

Very few children these days are getting the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of the healthy foods containing the vitamins and minerals needed for proper growth and body function. Not only are children not eating the proper foods, but they are eating way too much.

The average child eats hundreds of calories more than they should in a day. Between the ages of seven and ten, children should consume between 1500 and 2000 calories, depending on their age and sex.

 

Food choice heavily impacts childhood obesity

One of the biggest worries among the medical community is children are eating more fast food, fried foods, candy and soda than ever before. If your child consumes a 4-piece chicken nugget happy meal, they have already consumed about a third of the calories they need in a day. This can be even greater if your child chooses to up the size of their meal to a Mighty meal.

Though the schools are trying to do their part in helping provide children with proper nutrition, they are failing in many ways. Pizza, fried nuggets and fries are not making for healthy kids.

 

Curbing childhood obesity

To improve the health of your child and prevent or reverse obesity, you need to offer your child a wide variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. Snacks should be offered in the form of fresh fruits and vegetable sticks. It is also important to get your child moving as much as possible.

Studies have shown active children who have plenty of opportunities for active play, weigh less than those who sit around and play video games or watch TV.

Through a healthy diet, exercise for kids and your supervision over their health, your child’s weight will improve along with their health.

Child fitness strategies need to be enacted at home to work

November 12, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

kids-exercising

 

In recent years the epidemic of childhood obesity has gained notoriety in the media for being a serious issue facing our youth. Countless studies have been cited and statistics trotted out to the increasingly concerned public, and in response, elected officials have begun making policy changes aimed at increasing child fitness through better nutrition and health education.

As a result, the meals that many schools provide are beginning to include more healthy options and PSA’s stress the importance of getting children physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.  These well-meaning initiatives are certainly a step in the right direction towards improving child fitness on a national scale, but these sweeping policies can also provide a false sense of security for parents.

 

General programs aren’t enough

Some schools have been able to make changes to their lunch program by making healthy food options more accessible to students and now provide better education on the importance of being in good physical shape. But for those that haven’t – due to lack of funding, staff or resources – many of these programs fall on deaf ears.

Budgets are tight for schools and youth-service organizations across the country. Among the first things being cut are gym classes and after-school recreational activities. Meanwhile, healthy food options usually cost more than the more traditional choices many of us grew up with.

 

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Even if schools are offering these resources to their students, parents can easily get the wrong impression that these steps are enough for their child to be healthy. It is this false sense of security that parents need to overcome.

Ultimately the health of a child falls on the responsibility of the parents. They need to be the ones to ensure that their children are eating healthy foods at home – and when they’re at school that they’re actually choosing the healthy meal options. They also need to get their children to be physically active for a meaningful amount of time each day.

 

The role parents play

School and public programs only go so far into changing the habits of children. For any long-term changes to be achieved, the message needs to be reinforced at home by their parent or guardian at a young enough age when habits are still being formed. In most cases family involvement will determine the success or failure of these programs in improving child fitness.

Children can learn all about the food pyramid and the need for aerobic activity, but unless the message is reinforced and mirrored at home the lessons are unlikely to sink in.

Parents need to make healthy meals and plan physical activities at home so that children receive the lessons we want them to learn in a consistent and organized way. This might include such things as:

  • involving children in grocery shopping by helping them pick out fresh fruits and vegetables
  • having them help you prepare nutritious meals (let them toss the salad!)
  • go on family bike rides
  • play in the yard or at the park with them
  • set good examples by eating healthy and remaining physically active

 

Take initiative for their sake

It might be easy to assume that the lessons children at school about fitness is enough to create a lasting change in the decisions they make about their health, but sadly that’s not the case.

And it might also be easy to say that because of busy schedules or other commitments that continuing any good lessons taught at school or through after-school activities at home is too difficult. But what you must remember is that these teachable moments are shaping the life-long habits to ensure the health and well-being of your child. And nothing can be more important than that.

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Ed Holpfer

Childhood Obesity – Getting Our Kids Healthy

September 9, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Mark Aselstine, guest contributor

Nearly every community in America has made getting our kids healthy a priority, as we’ve seen the continual rise in childhood obesity rates gain momentum over the past two decades.  While reasonable people can argue about the cause of this rise in childhood obesity, be it the rise of indoor games like video games, or a general lack of healthy food choices, what matters is that virtually everyone agrees that a continued rise in childhood obesity is one of the major issues facing this country.

I’m lucky to live in the community of Berkeley California, a highly urban area just east across the bay from San wellnessFrancisco.  Berkeley is certainly known for many things, from our internationally recognized University, aptly named California, to being the center of the hippy movement in the 1970’s. What hasn’t received as much attention of late is Berkeley’s role as the American center for the slow food movement.  The concept is pretty simple, we should be cooking food more often than we eat fast food because of the nutritional quality as well as the cost.

 

It takes a village…

In Berkeley, eating healthy food has become something of a focus in the fight against childhood obesity.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen the city outlaw new fast food restaurants and encourage an even greater focus on Farmer’s Markets and other local food choices.  Since the city is highly urban, not everyone has the space and yard (if they have a yard at all, the average size of a single family home’s property is under four thousand square feet) to grow their own food, there has been a huge focus on the creation of community gardens and centralized places for people to grow their own food.

The county of Alameda had a program which provided close to three million dollars a year to allow gardening to happen at every school campus in the Berkeley School District.  Of course, as they often do, budget cuts ended that program and left a huge hole in its wake.  That’s where we can truly see the community’s commitment to the program, Alice Waters and her famous Chez Panisse Restaurant held a $2,500 per plate fundraiser, while other businesses donated 10% of their proceeds over a given month, raising the money to continue this important educational program which also provides lettuce and other fruits and vegetables for school lunches.

 

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Making exercise accessible

Of course, no commitment to fight childhood obesity would work without the ability to encourage children to burn more calories through play.  We’ve all heard that most kids should have sixty minutes of free play per day, but how can that happen with the end of Physical Education in schools and a condensed school schedule which sends children home, sometimes without more than a fifteen minute recess?  In Berkeley, the answer has come again through community support and involvement.  Berkeley has certainly gone all in, so to speak, with National Night Out.  Held every year on August 6th, National Night Out encourages the blocking of streets to allow children and their parents to enjoy playing outside.  Additionally the city shuts streets on a rotating basis on weekends to allow children an easy place to play.

 

Creating healthy citizens through city planning

Of course, a weekly event hardly allows children a space to gain sixty minutes of play per day.  Berkeley has continued to focus on adding park space, but also in building bicycle boulevards which in essence give bicycle riders streets to themselves, encouraging the biking of place to place. With a city of about one hundred thousand all packed into a three by four mile area, giving families the ability to get from home to the grocery store as an example, without driving, is a worthwhile and achievable goal.  The city and its business backers are focusing on allowing children to gain part of their exercise through their regular daily schedules.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the city of Berkeley and its fight against childhood obesity.  It’s certainly a hard problem to solve and the solutions which Berkeley is finding aren’t perfect for all cities across the country, but with a large amount of community involvement and government backing, answers are out there.

——

Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, an online wine club and high end gift basket business.  With a toddler at home, the issue of childhood obesity is perhaps more important to him than many others, but he believes that with community involvement and smart, common sense solutions we can see improvements in the coming years.

The Link between Anxiety and Childhood Obesity

September 2, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Ryan Rivera, guest contributor

There have been a number of studies that linked childhood obesity and anxiety. Childhood obesity has become a very serious medical condition.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that the incidence of childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled among adolescents in the last 30 years. In 2010, more than 33 percent of children and adolescents are either overweight or obese.

Childhood obesity sufferers have higher cardiovascular disease risk due to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is also associated with increased risk of cancer and osteoarthritis. That is why there is a pressing need to understand the relation of anxiety with childhood obesity and find ways to curb this impending health menace.

childhood-obesity

 

Sad children tend to be heavier

A new study shows that children that have been overweight or borderline obese from kindergarten to the third grade are also showing signs of anxiety or depression. The negative feelings have become worse overtime said researchers from the University of Missouri. MU researchers examined the social development and the behavior of about 8,000 school-age children.

Girls that have been obese or overweight, said the researchers, are viewed with less favor compared to girls that have near normal weight. Obese girls are seen to be less sociable and have shown less self-control. The appearance-based social behavior has created artificial pressures that have caused anxiety.

 

Sad children have altered dopamine signaling

Dopamine is one of the feel-good chemicals in the brain that makes the person calmer and less anxious. However, a study conducted by the University of Illinois said that there is a link between high-fat diets and some mental disorders. The study’s results on obese and juvenile mice saw a sharp decline in the dopamine metabolism that led to the emergence of anxiety symptoms and even learning difficulties.

Mice that are stout have increased their burrowing and even shown reluctance to go to open spaces and even developed memory impairments and other mental disorders. Switching to a low-fat diet showed signs of improvement in the learning difficulties of mice, the study said.

 

Sad children are caught in the middle

In a 2006 study, it was not established if obesity is causing anxiety or vice versa. It is possible that there is more than one factor that is involved showing the links between anxiety and obesity.

The fact that people tend to eat more and choose unhealthy food when they are suffering from anxiety and stress is an indication that there is a direct link. There are also people that would not eat anything when they are sad or anxious.

The fact that being obese tends to be socially undesirable and even a sudden target for bullies causes children to have negative thoughts thus making them sadder compared to other children.

 

Sad children are unhappy over their physical appearance

In a research study in Australia, it was shown that it is not the obesity itself that is causing the anxiety. It is the impact of obesity on the physical appearance making children less socially acceptable.

This leads to negative thoughts and emotions that eventually impacts mental health. That is why children with poor physical health tends to show signs of anxiety or worse progresses towards childhood depression.

In reality according to the study it is the underweight people that are more prone to have mental health problems compared to overweight people. It is just that since underweight people have less physical problems they are able to mask anxiety symptoms well.

 

Sad children will not get happiness right away with weight loss

According to some studies, losing weight among obese children does not guarantee immediate turnaround from anxiety problems. Losing weight may help improve the physical health and also the anxiety but it would not immediately cause any improvement in mental health.

 

Sad children have to wait for answers

Studies conducted recently showed that there is a link between anxiety and obesity but there is still confusion if obesity causes anxiety or the other way around. It is possible that obesity is not the contributor but the problems that are linked with obesity causes people to feel anxious and depressed.

Schools play a vital role in building their children’s confidence and create a healthy environment both physical and mental. As we move to better understand the links between obesity and anxiety, it is best to teach children how to eat healthy and to encourage more physical activities.

——

Ryan Rivera loves to share all his learned tips and tricks for conquering anxiety through his writings.  If anxiety plagues your child, try to get some help by visiting calm clinic account.

 

Is your child overweight? How to improve their health without putting them on a diet

August 22, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Emily Bradbury, guest contributor

The number of children who are obese or overweight is growing at an alarming rate.  If your child is putting on weight this can be a worrying sign for their health, and could lead to health problems like diabetes, asthma and heart disease in later life. It will be very upsetting to tell your child that they are overweight and need to diet, however it is important that their approach to food is changed.

Rather than drastically change your child’s eating habits over night, it might be best to make subtle changes initially, and change the way you all eat as a family.  You must make it clear to your child that you love them and want the best for them, and with the right encouragement you will help them reach and maintain a healthy weight.

 

Possible causes of your child’s weight gain

Increasingly families are cooking less and buying ready meals or eating out. Although you may feel that you are too busy to cook every night, it is very hard to monitor the fat and calorie content of the food your child is eating when you haven’t made it yourself.

Increasingly children play video games and watch TV in their spare time. It isn’t safe to play in the streets and around the neighbourhood like it used to be in past generations, so it can be more difficult for children to get the exercise they need to stay healthy.

 

What you can do to help your child

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Don’t let your child feel alone

If your overweight child feels like they are the only family member with a changing diet this could make them feel angry and picked on. Make it clear to your child that you are making some changes to your lifestyle as a family so that you will all feel healthier. If you are eating the same food as them your child will feel more motivated.

 

Changes at meal times

Making the time to cook a meal for the whole family is worth the effort, and needn’t take as long as you think. Take a look at some quick and healthy recipes for inspiration. Try to avoid food that is obvious ‘diet’ food, like a big plate of salad, and think about taking some of your child’s favourite food but making a healthy alternative.

For instance if your child loves chicken nuggets, try out a recipe for almond-crusted, oven baked chicken fingers instead. It is important to change your child’s outlook on food, and show them that healthy can be tasty to.

 

Cutting back snacking

Excessive snacking is a quick way for your child to pile on the pounds, and can easily go unnoticed by you. If your child has access to a cupboard of snacks in your kitchen, rather than hiding these suddenly and making your child feel like they are being punished consider the kind of snacks that are available to your child.

You could replace chocolate and crisps with fresh fruit, little packets of raisins or nuts, and healthier alternatives, like cereal bars and rice cakes. Your child will want to indulge less when the snacks are less exciting, and won’t be doing so much damage to their health when they do.

 

Exercise

If your child isn’t very active think about fun ways you can encourage them to change this. You could treat them to a trampoline for the garden, which is great exercise and a lot of fun as well. If your child is quite young, you could take them to the park to play with their friends more often, or if they are a little older you could suggest family bike rides, or going swimming.

By taking these steps you can help your child lose weight gradually without making them feel punished. If your family works together to help your child eat more healthily and enjoy exercise, they will start to lose weight over time, leading to a changed mindset and attitude towards food for the whole family.

——

Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of Core Assets, who provide foster placements, supervised contact sessions and domiciliary care for looked-after children globally.

Developing Good Eating Habits at Home

August 21, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Ervin Moore, guest contributor

Many mothers may wonder why their children are rejecting the food given to them every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner. A growing concern among parents has been unlikely develop about the good eating habits of  young children. These concerns are based on the reality that eating the right foods at the right time is essential to a child’s overall health. But as most mothers see, more and more children do not have good eating habits.

Children are really choosy when it comes to eating their meals. They usually prefer to eat sweet foods like chocolates & candies and do not care if it has a nutritional value or not. Of course they’re children. They doesn’t know the right food to eat and don’t understand what is nutritional value either.

 

Consider timing of mealsBreakfast

A child may think that having good eating habits is a daily chore that they have to fulfill. This makes young children think that just by eating at a time they want is enough to make them healthy and strong. For mothers, they always want their children to always eat nutritious foods in every meal but they often reject it. As a mother, what will you do to a situation like this?

In some cases, parents may get tired of having to tell their children to eat promptly during mealtime. They may resort to giving “bribes” – candies, sweets and other unhealthy foods – to make their children eat during mealtime or to avoid their young ones throwing tantrums. Although doing this from time to time may not be a big deal, it would be not advisable to “bribe” young children to eat every meal. Such a move would turn into a habit, and a child would have a disposition of refusing to eat during meals, unless his qualms and demands are met. Should this happen, a child would have a bad eating habit, and eventually, this would affect his or her overall health and well-being.

 

Enforcing good habits

So, how can parents help their children develop good eating habits?

Parents should have the whole family eat meals together as often as possible. This should instil onto children that eating the right food on the right time does not have to be a chore or a burden. Likewise, meals should be made pleasant as much as possible. It should not be a time for scolding young ones or making arguments with other members of the family. Mealtimes filled with unnecessary arguments and scolding would just turn away children and make them lose their appetite. Mealtimes should be a period where family members could freely interact with each other. Such meals would create a relaxed environment for children to create and develop good eating habits.

 

Get them involved in what they eat

Likewise, parents could involve their children in buying food and ingredients as well as preparing meals. Doing these offers several advantages. First, children do appreciate the fact that they were being factored in when preparing meals for the whole family. Also, children who have helped in preparing family meals are more likely to enjoy the food they had a hand in preparing. Parents could also gain hints on the food preferences of their children if they involve them such activities.

Parents could also help their children develop good eating habits by planning the snacks. One of the main reasons why some children don’t have the appetite to eat timely meals is because they have been snacking out of time. Getting a good snack is advisable but it should not come at a time when a scheduled meal is on the way. This will spoil children’s appetite during meal times. Thus, it would help if parents do schedule and plan family snacks.

These are just some the ways by which parents could help their children have good eating habits. Children on their own are not capable of knowing what eating practices are good for them, and most of the time they end up doing what is detrimental for them. Parents really need to step up efforts to guide and train their children to have good eating habits. Home is not only a place to get a good rest and a good place to live, but also a place to have a good meal.

——

About the Author

Ervin Moore is freelance writer/editor that specializes in creating art history essays and related compositions. Learned in the Harvard system of referencing, the author has been writing and editing academic papers for a couple of years.

Developing Good Eating Habits at Home

August 21, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Ervin Moore, guest contributor

Many mothers may wonder why their children are rejecting the food given to them every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner. A growing concern among parents has been unlikely develop about the good eating habits of  young children. These concerns are based on the reality that eating the right foods at the right time is essential to a child’s overall health. But as most mothers see, more and more children do not have good eating habits.

Children are really choosy when it comes to eating their meals. They usually prefer to eat sweet foods like chocolates & candies and do not care if it has a nutritional value or not. Of course they’re children. They doesn’t know the right food to eat and don’t understand what is nutritional value either.

 

Consider timing of mealsBreakfast

A child may think that having good eating habits is a daily chore that they have to fulfill. This makes young children think that just by eating at a time they want is enough to make them healthy and strong. For mothers, they always want their children to always eat nutritious foods in every meal but they often reject it. As a mother, what will you do to a situation like this?

In some cases, parents may get tired of having to tell their children to eat promptly during mealtime. They may resort to giving “bribes” – candies, sweets and other unhealthy foods – to make their children eat during mealtime or to avoid their young ones throwing tantrums. Although doing this from time to time may not be a big deal, it would be not advisable to “bribe” young children to eat every meal. Such a move would turn into a habit, and a child would have a disposition of refusing to eat during meals, unless his qualms and demands are met. Should this happen, a child would have a bad eating habit, and eventually, this would affect his or her overall health and well-being.

 

Enforcing good habits

So, how can parents help their children develop good eating habits?

Parents should have the whole family eat meals together as often as possible. This should instil onto children that eating the right food on the right time does not have to be a chore or a burden. Likewise, meals should be made pleasant as much as possible. It should not be a time for scolding young ones or making arguments with other members of the family. Mealtimes filled with unnecessary arguments and scolding would just turn away children and make them lose their appetite. Mealtimes should be a period where family members could freely interact with each other. Such meals would create a relaxed environment for children to create and develop good eating habits.

 

Get them involved in what they eat

Likewise, parents could involve their children in buying food and ingredients as well as preparing meals. Doing these offers several advantages. First, children do appreciate the fact that they were being factored in when preparing meals for the whole family. Also, children who have helped in preparing family meals are more likely to enjoy the food they had a hand in preparing. Parents could also gain hints on the food preferences of their children if they involve them such activities.

Parents could also help their children develop good eating habits by planning the snacks. One of the main reasons why some children don’t have the appetite to eat timely meals is because they have been snacking out of time. Getting a good snack is advisable but it should not come at a time when a scheduled meal is on the way. This will spoil children’s appetite during meal times. Thus, it would help if parents do schedule and plan family snacks.

These are just some the ways by which parents could help their children have good eating habits. Children on their own are not capable of knowing what eating practices are good for them, and most of the time they end up doing what is detrimental for them. Parents really need to step up efforts to guide and train their children to have good eating habits. Home is not only a place to get a good rest and a good place to live, but also a place to have a good meal.

——

About the Author

Ervin Moore is freelance writer/editor that specializes in creating art history essays and related compositions. Learned in the Harvard system of referencing, the author has been writing and editing academic papers for a couple of years.