Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with one out of three kids now considered overweight or obese.
Obese children and adolescents are at greater risk for bone problems, for development of diabetes and for social and psychological problems such as poor self-esteem. In addition, overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they make lifestyle changes such as healthy eating habits and exercise.
The cutoff points, according to the CDC: If the child’s (2 to 19 years old) BMI for age is between the 85th and 95th percentiles, he is considered overweight; if it is above 95th percentile, he is obese. You can go to the CDC Web site to learn more of how the childhood obesity is measured (www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood). One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the diet and exercise habits of your entire family. Here are some strategies you can follow to combat childhood obesity:
1. Limit recreational television and computer time to no more than two hours per day. Your child’s activity doesn’t have to be a structured program, but it is important to keep kids active throughout the day.
2. Don’t do a clean-plate policy. Children are normally good at listening to their hunger cues. If kids are satisfied, don’t force them to continue eating.