September is National Childhood Obesity awareness month. Unity Medical Center wants to be sure our community is aware of the adverse risks that come along with childhood obesity.
The problem is more common than you might think – about 1 in 5 children in the United States is obese (20 percent), while even more are overweight and in danger of obesity.
Children with obesity are at risk for chronic health conditions and diseases as they age, leading to shorter life expectancy and greater risk for other diseases.
For example, obese children are at a higher risk for asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems and type 2 diabetes. This can also lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
There are other factors to consider – such as adverse mental effects. Obese children are more likely to be bullied and teased – this can lead to social isolation, depression and low self-esteem.
There are many factors that can lead to childhood obesity. Luckily, many of these are controllable for parents and caregivers. Here are a few tips for helping control childhood obesity.
Causes of childhood obesity include:
*Too much time spent being inactive.
*lack of sleep
*lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
*Easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
*Lack of access to affordable, healthy foods.
As parents, there are steps you can take. Be sure to pay attention to the following steps recommended by our friends at the CDC:
*Provide nutritious, low-calorie foods such as natural fruits and vegetables in place of sugary foods and fats
*Ensure your child drinks plenty of water from an early age. Limit sugary drinks and juices
*Children should get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This leads to controlled weight and also helps control other weight-factors, such as sleep and reduced anxiety and stress.
*Ensure proper sleep habits. Children 6-12 years-old should actually be getting 9-12 hours of sleep per 24 hours. Children 13-18 should be sleeping 8-10 hours per 24 hours.
*Be a role model! If your child sees you eating properly and exercising, they are likely to follow
Unity Medical Center is located at 481 Interstate Dr. in Manchester, Tenn. Follow them on Facebook.