It takes a village to raise a child. And the amount of health risks only increase as your kid becomes more independent and active. We may not be able to prevent those future playground or sports accidents, but we can work to prevent childhood obesity from putting a child’s health at risk.
What is childhood obesity?
According to the CDC, many factors contribute to childhood obesity. Obesity is “a BMI (body mass index) at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age or sex.” A child’s weight status is determined within an age- and sex-specific percentile since body composition varies as they age.
What causes childhood obesity?
The causes of excess weight gain in younger people are like those in adults, to include genetics and lifestyle choices.
Behaviors taught and reinforced by the parents, older siblings, and other authority figures in the home can contribute to weight gain in children. Specifically, a poor diet of low-nutrient foods, not enough physical activity, a sedentary lifestyle of watching TV or other devices, medication use, and sleep routines could all lead to weight gain.
How can I prevent childhood obesity from affecting my child?
Preventing childhood obesity follows a similar track to preventing other health conditions as well. Consuming a healthy diet, being physically active, and establishing good lifestyle choices (e.g., brushing teeth before bed, getting enough sleep, asking for help when needed) all help your child understand the importance of living a healthy life. Here are a couple of other suggestions to encourage activity in your household:
- Lead by example. If your kids see you exercising or outside engaging in physical activity they are more likely to follow the same behavior.
- Limit screen time. Turn off computers, phones and TV’s and limit it to no more than 1- 2 hours per day.
- Make it fun. Find activities that your kids enjoy and get the entire family involved.
Where can I find additional resources about childhood obesity?
Culbertson Clinics can provide resources for childhood obesity prevention and management. If you have questions on how to help yourself or a loved one, contact the expert staff at Culbertson Healthcare Providers for more information!