Childhood Obesity

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I gave a presentation at the local college on Friday about the problem, cause, and solutions to childhood obesity.  Some of the things we discussed were:

Happy kids preparing a meal in the kitchen

The problem:

  • 16.9% of children ages 2-19 are obese.
  • Obesity costs 150 Billion dollars per year to treat!
  • Obesity kills more than 100,000 people per year
  • 24-90% of adolescents who are obese become obese adults.

Possible solutions:

  • Focus on behavior change rather than weight loss. Including behaviors such as:
    • Increasing fruits and vegetables
    • Decreasing low nutrient, high calorie foods
    • Decreasing sugar sweetened beverages
    • Decreasing TV time, and avoiding letting adolescents having a TV in their room.
    • Participate and encourage high quality PE programs
    • Walk to school.  (Most schools today have a “safe route to school” map.
    • Encourage family activity and exercise.

There are programs I believe are doing a good job to bring awareness and change.  These include Let’s Move, and Let’s Go!

I like the message from Let’s Go.  They teach 5, 2, 1, 0

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I really do believe awareness is helping! From 1980-2000 we saw an increase in childhood obesity from 5% – 15%. But in the last 10 years, it has remained around 15%.  Awareness is power.

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10 Comments

“Focus on behavior change rather than weight loss.” I love that Amy! Overweight kids know they’re overweight and it stresses them! They need to be able to focus on something positive that they can do to change it. Not just be told to lose weight. Great suggestions.

Thanks Vennesa! It really clicked with me when I heard that… for me, it’s because kids may not necessarily lose weight, they are just growing into their bodies, so the scale is not going to go down!

i been a physician n into a lot of gym myself hv been treating young children for long.yes healthy eating habbits n exercise does help a lot.pts can hv a free consultation on 9826651096

My daughter is 9 and is quite overweight. The problem is she loves food! All kinds. She eats enough fruits and vegetables during the day and does exercise (not a high amount, but does something physical each day)… but I know one problem is portion control, she always says she is hungry, hungry, hungry… We have changed to a healthier diet in general, and are going to follow your meal plans. She doesn’t drink any juice or pop and drinks alot of water. Any other suggestions?

If someone is always hungry, it means they are not eating enough! For goodness sake, stop dieting your daughter! You are guilt-tripping her about her weight, from the attitude expressed in your post, and you and she are restricting her. That is child abuse. The sooner you learn to respect your child’s hunger level and encourage her to eat until genuinely full and satisfied (no longer feeling like eating anything else) at each meal, from a combination of proteins, starches, fats, fruits, and veggies, in proportions that her body is asking for, she will continue to be hungry. Please check out dietitian and child feed ing expert Ellyn Satter’s web site and her books. Smart, compassionate advice. I am dismayed by how Amy’s post begins by bragging about promoting weight stigma at a local college. How harmful! This is exactly what we DON’T need.

I’m sorry you thought I was bragging as promoting a weight stigma Alice. I was asked to give a presentation to a health class about childhood obesity and possible solutions. It was a class of secondary education students getting a degree to teach health ed. And what I found was startling, that obesity actually hadn’t increased in the last 10 years. As far as the response to the comment above, we do love Ellyn Satter’s work, and you are right – if a diet is full of fruits and veggies and healthy food, there should be no limit.

Hi Shauna-
It’s definitely challenging, and for the record, I know how she feels.. I LOVE food too! And I love healthy food, but there is definitely a limit of even healthy food before it’s too much! The best we can recommend though is to work with a local pediatrician and get a recommendation for a dietitian that can offer ongoing support.

I have a question, what’s the background or the basis for the meal plan for an obese child? I asked this because I was told to prepare a meal for an obese child but I want to explain why do I prepared that meal and what’s the difference of that to ordinary everyday meal. Please help me, thank you in advance