Currently one-third of American children are overweight or obese. Parents can teach their kids to control their portion sizes, eat vegetables with every meal and avoid a lot of sugar, but that doesn’t mean that the struggle against obesity ends at home.
Even as doctors and parents struggle to encourage healthy behaviors, a society that loves sugar-filled and sodium-rich fast food and sedentary pastimes can sabotage every healthy effort. Experts cite food marketing, the availability of unhealthy foods at school, and hundreds of tv channels as part of the root cause of childhood obesity. It can seem like their environments are constantly pushing kids in the wrong direction.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic facing the nation with numerous studies outlining the damaging social, psychological, and medical consequences of being overweight. Overweight children are more likely to be bullied by their peers. They’re also much more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, liver disease and bone and joint problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excess fat has also been linked to many types of cancer.
New research in the journal Pediatrics demonstrates how environmental stresses can also lead to weight gain. Children dealing with stressful circumstances, like poverty or domestic violence, experienced a hormonal change that led them to seek higher fat foods for comfort.
So, as a society, how can parents trying to raise healthy kids make sure they don’t have to struggle with weight? Experts and policymakers agree the solution is to make the healthier choice the easier choice. But, weight loss ultimately starts in the home. Parents can’t underestimate the influence they have in their children’s lives.
To help combat obesity make weight loss – or healthy eating – a family affair. Make the commitment to eat healthier meals and throw away the junk food. Talk about getting more active together.
Source: WDSU “Why Is It So Hard for Kids to Lose Weight?”