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Children's Health

Childhood Obesity

Published December 26th, 2007 in Children's Health

Childhood Obesity

By Herb Joiner-Bey, ND

And Laura Casanova

One and five American children are overweight.  Obesity is a major health issue for adults, it is even more of a problem for today’s children because over for weight children tend to become overweight adults.  Considering the problem that obesity can cause, such as heart disease hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, this could have a significant impact on the future of health care and our country.

According to the American obesity Association, 15% of children and analysis age 6 to 19 are considered overweight or obese, as defined by BM I, with an additional 15% at risk of becoming overweight.  Even worse is the fact that more than 10% of younger children between the ages of two and five are overweight.  The added pounds that contribute to certain health conditions and diseases in adults are also contributing to the same problems in children, with physicians reporting such serious health concerns as adult onset diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in children as young as eight or nine years of age.

Researchers at Yale University school of medicine found that obese children tend to have a combination of health problems, a condition called metabolic syndrome, that increases the risk of early development of Type II diabetic and heart disease.  Results of the national health and nutrition examination survey, which examined trends in systolic induced all it blood pressure among children and adolescents between 1988 and 2000, found that blood pressure has increased over the past decade among children and adolescents.

One study found that overweight children are more likely than normal weight children to be victims of bullying or be police themselves.  Another study found that obese children rated their quality of life as low as did you and cancer patients because of teasing and weight related health problems.  Experts continue to point a to cope or its in the obesity epidemic: poor diet and lack of exercise.

Poor diet it should come as no surprise that a major contributor implicated in the rising childhood obesity may be directly linked to our nation sweet tooth particularly the enormous consumption of high fructose corn syrup (H. F. C. S.) by Americans.  In ingredient in an majority of foods and beverages, H. F. C. and this is the sole calorie sweetener and soft drinks in the .  Intake of H. F. C. S. increased by more than 1000% between 1970 and 1990 far exceeding any other food or food group.  A study of H. F. C. S. and beverages concluded that the increasing consumption of H. F. C. S. hasn’t temporary relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the over consumption of H. F. C. S. and cold calorie sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.  In addition consumption of refined sugar has increased with the average person consuming 150 pounds of sugar a year.

Sherry Lieberman, Ph.D., C.N.S, FACN, a nutrition scientist and exercise psychologist has found that children are served less healthy food and middle school than they are in elementary school after fourth-grade children move into fifth grade, they eat fewer servings of fruit, non-fried vegetables, and milk while the number of servings of high fat vegetables such as french fries and sweetened drinks increases.

Lack of exercise one children participate in school physical education programs they still may not be getting in a vigorous physical exercise.  The amount of time children spend watching television also has contributed to a lack of physical activities, but it appears in videogames may play a greater role, with researchers finding a strong correlation between the amount of time children play video games and their weight.

Remember this: most of what your child eats depends on what you buy at the grocery store, and study showed that children are more likely to be active if their parents are active.  Children learn the eating habits from their parents, so it’s important to set a good example for your children.  If you lead a healthy life chances are they will also.

Dietary Recommendations:

Until they are 2 or 3 years of age children need about 40% of their calories from fat, and they need 0.5 g protein per pound of body weight per day.  After 3 years, fat calories should be about one third of total calories.  Protein should decreas to 0.5 g of protein per pound of body weight for 4 to 6-year-olds; and to 0.45 g for 7 to 14-year-olds. Boys between 15 and 18 need 0.4 g per pound of body weight; girls of the same it age need 0.36 g of protein per pound.

Children need to eat a variety of whole foods including fruits, vegetables, and grains to obtain the nutrients and vitamins they need.  Many children, however, are lacking in essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, and calcium.  Of these, calcium and magnesium are considered key minerals in preventing obesity.  These nutrients are most readily available in lowfat dairy products: green leafy vegetables: and unrefined grains and nuts.  Eating more fiber rich whole, organic unprocessed plant foods will help to lowering the number of calories eaten was each mouthful of food.

Many experts recommend supplementing your child’s diet with a good multivitamin from health-food store or prescribed by your child’s doctor.  B vitamins are particularly important, as are chromium and magnesium.  Fish oil is good because it can help control the insulin response, improve memory skills, reduce high blood pressure and aid in ADD /ADHD management.  Parents should eliminate junk foods and sodas, which are the main source of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, and they should limit refined foods such as white flour and sugar.  It will help if your child has protein for breakfast, such as a smoothie made with lowfat unsweetened yogurt and fruit or an egg because starting the day with protein can reduce the number of calories  eaten throughout the day.

The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research offers the following tips for getting your child more active:

  • Shut off the television. There is a direct relationship between hours spent watching TV and obesity
  • Get active yourself. Children of parents who exercise or six times more likely to be active in children of sedentary parents.
  • Promote activity, not exercise. Tag, hide and seek and hopscotch are all exercise.  Play games your children enjoy.
  • Be creative. Let a child choose a different activity each weekend: hiking, swimming, and in-line skating are a few options.
  • Make chores a family affair. Have your children help garden, shovels snow, and wash the car.