RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With kids back in school, now is as good a time as ever to make sure your kids are eating right.
One consequence of not eating right?
Obesity. It’s the most prevalent disorder among children and adolescents.
Obesity predisposes kids to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and liver and kidney disease.
It also increases risk for heart disease in adulthood.
- Obesity is defined by a ratio called the body mass index. It is calculated by taking the child’s height divided by the weight in meters squared
- Obesity is defined as a BMI more than 30 in adults. In children it is based on age and sex specific 95th percentiles for BMI on growth charts
- Overweight is 85th percentile
- Obese is 95th percentile
Our goal in the U.S. is to reduce childhood obesity to only five percent in children, but we have a long way to go.
- 17 percent of all children are considered obese
- More adolescents than preschool aged kids
- More boys than girls are obese (18 percent vs 16 percent)
- Among kids 2-19, more than 5 million girls and 7 million girls are obese
- 1 in 3 kids are obese or overweight—32 percent of boys and 31 percent of girls
- Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight adults and this increases to 80 percent if both parents are also overweight or obese.
Costs of obesity of adolescents are estimated to be $250 billion and if current trends continue, by 2030, obesity related healthcare costs will reach $950 billion by 2030.
- Identify at-risk kids.
- Learning lifelong habits that incorporate exercise and healthy eating is essential. Programs in schools can make a difference.
- Develop healthy habits. Diet and exercise should be part of daily routines.
- Children model adult behavior—it is essential to set the example as parents. Keep healthy snacks in the home, such as fruits and veggies, rather than chips. Plan meals on the weekends and make sure you either have all the ingredients in place or you prepare them in advance.
- Send kids to school with healthy, tasty lunches and snacks rather than lots of processed foods, etc. Read labels in grocery store—you would be amazed at how many pre packaged meals and snacks have excess salt and calories.
- Even though we are busy, avoid fast foods.
- Encourage sports participation, encourage kids to get outside and engage in physical activity every day rather than sit on the couch and watch TV or play video games.
- Back to School is all about routines—this is a great time to develop new healthy routines to help reduce your child’s chances of becoming overweight.
- When talking to your child about diet and exercise, make sure you are positive and not negative.
- According to the CDC, kids and adolescents should have at least one hour of physical activity every day.