Jessamine County Coroner

Childhood Obesity

September is “Childhood Obesity Awareness Month”.  This is a great time to address a problem that is affecting more American families every year.
Childhood obesity has tripled in the U.S. over the past 30 years.
For children 6-11 years old, the rate went from 6.5% to 20%.
For children 12-19 years old, the rate went from 5% to 18%.
Childhood overweight or obesity has become a major health risk that Pediatricians are coping with in the office more and more.
It is also the most common nutritional disorder among American children and adolescents.
At least one in five American children and adolescents are obese, and the prevalence is beginning to show increased numbers in pre-school aged children.
Childhood obesity is the result of caloric imbalance or simply put, too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed.

CONTRIBUTORS
·         Food  Choices- Serving foods with high calories (including simple fats and simple sugars)
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Serving too little fruits and vegetables
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Lifestyle-Sedentary rather than physically active
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Parental obesity-genetics and acceptance of obese children
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Eating Patterns-Skipping meals or irregular meal-times can trigger overeating
·         Parental Eating and Physical Activity habits-Children mimic their parents
Health Risks
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The health risks of childhood obesity are both immediate and long-term
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There is a 70% increased risk of cardiovascular disease for obese children 5 to 17 years old.
·         Other childhood risks include:Bone and joint problemsSleep Apnea
Social and psychological problems (Stigmatization and low self-esteem)

Obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and as such become more susceptible to adult diseases and health risks such as:
·         Heart Disease
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High Blood Pressure
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High total and LDL Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol)
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High Triglycerides (Fats in the blood)
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Low HDL (Good Cholesterol)
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Type 2 Diabetes
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Stroke
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Certain types of cancer
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Non-alcoholic hepatitis (Fatty infiltration and inflammation of the liver)
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Osteoarthritis

What You Can Do For Your Child
·         Parents should choose the food their children eat (Remember, what you buy and bring home, is what your family will eat).
Choose fruits and veggies rather than high calorie snack foods.
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Keep plenty of healthy snack foods readily available to kids.
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When serving meals, serve smaller portions.
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Encourage kids especially if already overweight, to drink a glass of water. before meals.  This will help them to feel full while eating less.
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Broil, bake, roast or grill foods rather than frying.
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Use low-dairy products and salad dressing, including mayonnaise.  You can gradually lessen the fat content of mild by starting with 2% and ultimately go to skim.
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Replace high sugar drinks like sodas with sugar-free flavored water.
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Limit fruit juice drinks to 2 per day.
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Encourage your entire family to engage in outside physical games and activities.  This can begin by walking and move up to cycling, hiking playing ball together, etc.
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Limit TV time to one or two favorite shows a night and exclude daytime TV altogether.
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Completely avoid eating while watching TV.
·         Finally, the internet is packed with sites that suggest ways of reducing the likelihood of childhood obesity and how to reduce it if it already exists.
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