By Dr. Mason Wedel, MD PGY1
September is National Childhood Obesity Month, a time to raise awareness of this growing concern for children. Obesity is a major public health problem for children everywhere, putting them at higher risk for other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma. Having obesity as a child also makes children more likely to become obese adults.
“About 1 in 5 (19%) of children are obese today.”According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Here are some tips to prevent or combat childhood obesity:
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables – serve more fruits and vegetables at meals and as snacks. Decrease the amount of high fat and sugary foods.
- Stay Active – children are recommended to get 60 minutes or more physical activity DAILY. Include running, jumping, walking, bike riding as well as muscle strengthening exercises such as push ups.
- Drink More Water – always encourage more water and make it available at all times instead of high sugar drinks such as soda. Limit juice intake.
- Ensure Adequate Sleep – follow a sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Remove electronics from bedroom and make sure the bedroom is quiet and dark.
These tips will help your child have more energy, control their weight, strengthen their bones, increase their self-esteem and live an overall healthier life. Be sure to have a medical home for your entire family and talk with your child’s doctor about any concerns like childhood obesity. Follow these tips daily and help stop the rising number of children with obesity.