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On Childhood Obesity

Stud­ies sug­gest that 1 in 3 chil­dren and teenagers is either over­weight or obe­sity. Obese kids are at risk for heart dis­ease, dia­betes, and early death later on in life. On top of that, many obese kids suf­fer through low self-esteem, depres­sion, and neg­a­tive body image.

Many fac­tors con­tribute to the increased rates of obese chil­dren in the U.S. Kids are bom­barded with ads for high fat, high sugar foods. They have easy, round-the-clock access to these foods and eat big­ger por­tions of them. Health­ier alter­na­tives to unhealthy foods aren’t as read­ily avail­able and often aren’t afford­able. Today’s chil­dren also spend much more time watch­ing TV or play­ing video games and less time being phys­i­cally active.

So, log­i­cally, the next ques­tion is what can we do to turn things around? How can we help reverse the child­hood obe­sity trend? There isn’t a magic bul­let that we can use to kill the obe­sity were­wolf, but here are a few ideas that might help:

  • Replace sug­ary snacks with dried fruit and other sweet, healthy treats.
  • Get kids to spend at least 60 min­utes doing some­thing phys­i­cally active.
  • Limit time kids have access to TV, com­put­ers, video games, and other seden­tary activ­i­ties that encour­age con­sump­tion of unhealthy junk food.
  • Serve more ice water and fewer sodas.
  • Be a healthy role model. Kids will be more likely to make smart food choices if they see you doing it.
  • Limit fast food intake to no more than once a week.

 

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