How Much Should My Daughter Weight At 10 Years Old Fighting Childhood Obesity Starts at Home

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Fighting Childhood Obesity Starts at Home

It is a fact that people are generally getting fatter in many western societies. This is reflected in the popularity of diet books and fitness equipment. But while most of us realize that it would be good to lose some weight, we are only vaguely aware of the staggering levels of “obesity” in our society. We are even less aware of the impact this has on our children and the widespread existence of childhood obesity.

What is obesity?

In general, a person is considered “obese” when the amount of fat stored in his body endangers his health. Here are some recent OECD statistics that show how widespread the problem of obesity is:

Percentage of the population (over 15 years of age) who are obese

USA – 30.6%

Mexico – 24.2%

United Kingdom – 22.4%

Australia – 21.7%

New Zealand – 17%

Canada – 14.9%

Germany – 12.9%

France – 9.4%

In other words, nearly 1 in 3 Americans and about 1 in 5 Australians are so grossly obese that they have health problems because of it.

Causes of obesity

As individuals, we tend to rationalize our tendency to be overweight or obese. We often blame such things as heredity or glandular imbalance, and while these things often make a difference, the primary cause of most obesity is quite simple. A person gains weight when he or she consumes more calories than they burn.

In other words, there are two important factors involved – diet and activity level. And it seems pretty obvious that in countries with high levels of obesity, both things are affected. Western diets are oozing with more fat and sugar than ever before, while people in general are becoming more sedentary and getting less physical exercise – sitting in front of computers all day and in front of the TV all night.

Consequences of an overweight lifestyle

Obesity has overtaken infectious diseases as the major contributor to ill health worldwide.

Diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, asthma, heart disease, stroke, back and lower extremity weight-bearing degenerative problems, certain cancers, and depression have been attributed to obesity.

In fact, it has been estimated that around 500,000 deaths now occur annually due to poor diet and physical inactivity. If this obesity trend is not reversed in the next few years, it is likely to overtake tobacco as the leading preventable cause of death.

Even more worryingly, when adults adopt an overweight lifestyle, they are more likely to pass on their eating and activity habits to their children. This has given rise to a dramatic increase in obesity in children.

Obesity in children

Childhood obesity has become common in many countries. For example, it is estimated that obesity in children and adults in the United States has increased by more than 30% in the last 10 years alone.

The reasons are obvious. Children are exposed to the obese lifestyle from all sides. Many families have replaced high-fat, high-sugar junk food and soft drinks with regular well-balanced meals. Or they simply stopped preparing meals at home – the proportion of food children consumed from restaurants and fast food outlets increased by almost 300% between 1977 and 1996.

Children are also the target of a constant barrage of advertisements promoting highly processed junk food. And in many cases, the normal physical activity that has been a part of childhood for many generations has been limited by safety concerns or completely replaced by sedentary activities like playing video games or watching television.

Consequences of childhood obesity

Obesity is never a good thing. But childhood obesity is particularly bad. Once fat cells are created in the body, they cannot be gotten rid of with normal diet or increased physical activity. So an obese child usually carries their obesity through into adulthood.

On the other hand, if a child learns good habits for diet and exercise as children, they will very likely take these habits and this knowledge into adulthood.

What can be done about obesity in children?

It is up to parents and other adults to teach responsible alternatives to the overweight lifestyle. Parents must first become aware of the problems with their own personal and family eating habits and activity levels, and then make adjustments that will have a positive lifelong impact on their children.

An effective way is to use the “AKA” approach — Awareness of the problem. Knowledge of what to do about it and Action designed to create lifestyle changes. Children have an innate thirst for knowledge, a deep desire to improve their self-image, and will love the attention you give them as you develop a healthier lifestyle plan for your entire family.

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