Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly "1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) has obesity," data from 2015-2016 shows.
Childhood obesity can be harmful to children in several ways, such as:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Increased risk of glucose impairment, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Breathing problems like sleep apnea and asthma
- Greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as poor self-esteem
- Higher chance of obesity as an adult
In an effort to combat and prevent childhood obesity, we have compiled a list of fun ways to encourage kids to eat healthy and get active.
Make a Favorite Dish Healthier
Instead of spaghetti and meatballs with regular noodles, try whole-wheat pasta or even get creative and use zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
It's important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking water can also make you feel full and less tempted to eat that sugary, fatty snack.
Incorporate Healthy Snacks
If kids are hungry between meals, offer a fruit or veggie instead of ice cream or chips. Ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) and Greek yogurt with berries are yummy alternatives.
Teach Kids about Serving Size
It's OK to have a Twinkie or snack-size bag of chips. These foods are delicious, but also should be consumed in the smallest serving size.
Get 60 Minutes of Physical Activity Per Day
It's important for children to get up and move around, as it benefits both their physical and mental health. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins, which can help improve your mood.
Limit Screen Time
With all the new gadgets and gizmos available, it's easy to sit for hours on end and stare at a screen. Set a time limit of 30 to 60 minutes for the day, and encourage your kids to get outside or play with other toys.
Below, learn how to calculate your child's risk for being overweight or obese, and the health risks it poses.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on weight in relation to height. In children, BMI percentile is the best measurement of body fat. A BMI percentile compares your child's BMI to others of the same age and gender. Children with a BMI in the 85th percentile and above are at risk for being overweight or obese. To learn more, visit the CDC's BMI Percentile Calculator for Children and Teens.
Find a Pediatrician Near You
About Pediatric Services
Doylestown Health is committed to providing family-centered children’s services to the community. The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center offers expert inpatient care to all ages including infants, children and teens. Della Penna Pediatric Center Services extend beyond the hospital setting to include health and wellness education, nutrition services and other support services within the community.
By posting on the Dialogue Online blog, I understand and agree that my comments will be reviewed and may be removed if they are libelous or otherwise illegal, or contain abusive, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate material. Please do not share personal health or financial information on the blog. I also understand that my comments will be available for view by the public and may be copied, stored, reproduced or disclosed by a third party for any use. For more information, please review the Doylestown Hospital's commenting guidelines.