Childhood Obesity – Americas Number One Growing Epidemic
Author: Dr. William Rappaport
Date: November 2017
The holiday season is here. While we celebrate this joyous time, let’s start a conversation about Childhood Obesity. We should all be thankful this season for the gifts we are given. One gift taken for granted is the amount of food we consume.
Childhood Obesity affects 30% of our children.
Main factors that contribute to the rise in this epidemic are poor lifestyle habits. These repetitive behaviors can be changed with perseverance and education.
- Physical activity has been greatly limited due to electronics as a way of life. Kids are simply getting less and less exercise by opting out of organized sports, spending more time indoors with video games, social media and communicating on-line rather than face to face while enjoying parks and playgrounds, outside playing sports or simply being driven around rather than walking.
- Diet is another risk factor. Processed sugary foods contribute to 40% of a child’s diet. Our schedules are busier than ever. It’s easy for us to grab ready-made meals, pop into a restaurant to eat out and use vending machines in order to get calories into our over scheduled children.
These habits lead to excessive intake of fat, carbohydrates and calories. They are simply unhealthy. Of course portion size has to be accounted for as well. Remember the amount of starch, (rice, potato, pasta) consumed at a meal should not be bigger than your palm. Even the size of a portion (6oz) of steak should be no bigger than this size.
- Psychological issues also contribute to overweight children. Some people, including children, overeat to combat stress, depression, boredom and uncomfortable feelings. Children learn these behaviors from their families. Physical activity and aerobic sports are the best way to deal with anxiety and stress. Remember obesity eventually leads to a number of medical issues for children beyond their third decade which include hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, a 40% increase in solid cancers, hip and knee replacement surgery and depression. This is on top of the social isolation and depression overweight and obese children suffer as they enter adolescence.
Please on this Thanksgiving 2017, let’s be grateful for the abundance we are given while protecting our child’s health and future habits. Put the “dumb” phones, I-pads and x-boxes down and lets get active!!
Create a Happy and Healthy Lifestyle for Your Family…The next generation will thank you!