Just how widespread is the problem? The National Institutes of Health has determined that, over the last thirty years, the number of young people with weight problems has increased two fold. Interestingly enough, the problem is affecting children of all ages as well as children from all ethnic groups.
The parents of these children may not realize how detrimental obesity is to their children’s emotional health. They may consider the obesity just a passing phase and they may not understand the psychological devastation that obesity can cause. They may even dismiss the concerns of their children, hoping that the problem will simply go away.
The causes of childhood obesity can be complex. However, there do appear to be a few identifiable triggers. For instance, many families now eat on the run because of their many commitments. Parents may not think they have time to prepare nutritious meals for their children, so they rely on fast food and sugary snacks to fill in the gaps. As a result, children end up eating a diet that’s rich in fat and sugar but which offers little in the way of nutritional value. According to the American Obesity Association, one third of parents believe their children’s dietary habits are worse than theirs were during their own childhoods.
Another key problem is inactivity. Children watch more than a full day’s worth of television each week. That’s in addition to the hours they devote to their computers. As a result, they’re not playing outside as much as children of generations past. Also, many children may feel as if they cannot participate in sports because of their weight. Feeling defeated before they even start, they pass up opportunities to engage in physical activities.
It has been shown that children tend to be heavily influenced by advertising. Unfortunately, many commercials tout foods that can be best classified as unhealthy. Children crave what they see on TV and in movie theaters and they may not realize what these foods will do to their bodies.
Luckily, childhood obesity can be successfully conquered. Here are a few tips to help your child overcome a weight problem: