Childhood Obesity

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Let's be honest, we have all heard of childhood obesity and realize it is a problem, but how big of a problem is it really? Is it finally time to do something or is it too late?

One of the most concerning stats of childhood obesity is that studies show that nearly 30% of the entire childhood population are overweight or obese and it is expected that if obesity problems continue uncontrolled, by the end of this year alone, nearly 50% of children population may be overweight or obese.

Now this stat alone tells me, this is a huge problem that could well turn into an epidemic.

In fact, almost 25% of obese adults were obese as children. This shows two things:
 1. If not controlled, it will lead to obese adulthood and,
 2. There is still hope that times can change with steps taken in the right direction.

Now, what are some causes of childhood obesity:
• The obvious, inactivity.
 More and more children have come accustomed to living life on the couch and not getting out and doing any physical activity. Because of this, they are not getting the recommended daily exercise they should.

• Parental neglect. Sounds odd right? However, more doctors now feel that parents with obese children are guilty of some form of abuse or neglect. There is dietary neglect where the parent is simply feeding the child too much food, or feeding the child foods high in sugars and fats. Also, some parents cater to the their child's sweet tooth.

• Too much TV. Watching too much TV is a problem as it becomes a substitute for other activities like swimming, biking, or playing sports. Watching TV, movies, and playing video games are not only sedentary activities, they also encourage constant snacking.

• Fast Food. This connection is widely acknowledged and undisputed by many experts in the field. Besides being inexpensive, a lot of fast food is extremely high in fat, sugar, salt, and starch. Take a look at your child's school lunch. Do you see the connection? With fast food being the cheaper option, It's no wonder they are serving burgers, hot dogs, french fries, pizza, soda, and tater tots on a regular basis.

How do we slow this down? After all, this didn't happen over night, nor will it go away that fast. I personally feel this shouldn't be as difficult as people make it out to be. Here is why:

• Get your children moving. There are numerous activities children can participate in. Get them involved early, and they will want to continue throughout their childhood.

• Play with them. Cannot find an activity your child wants to participate with others? Then you get up and get moving with them. Throw the football around, go to the park, or walk the dog, there are many things to do in order to get daily exercise.

• Don't buy junk food. Pretty simple huh. If it is not in the house, they don't eat it. Granted, you cannot control your child's eating habits if they are at a friend's house, but in front of you, you control it and you are to blame.

• Reward. If it comes to this, reward your child for their hard work. If they do X amount of exercise per week, or eat X amount of vegetables, reward them.

It's simple, changes can be made and they need to be made now. This is a problem, yet one that can be shrunk if proper steps are taken.

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