Sunday, January 29, 2012

Childhood Obesity

     Childhood obesity is an increasing problem in the United States. A combination of less activity, large portion sizes, less healthy food, and other factors have more than doubled the cases of childhood obesity in the last twenty years. Many things can be done to help fight obesity, although many of these actions are not easy and are not going to be popular. But to help make our children physically, socially, and psychologically healthier, these are important things to work on as a family. Tackling a few of these to begin with is a good start.
     The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends: eating 5 fruits and vegetables per day; getting 1 hour of physical activity per day; limiting screen time to less than 2 hours per day; limiting consumption of sugar sweetened drinks; eat breakfast daily; switch to low-fat dairy products; regularly eat family meals together; limit fast food, take out, and eating out; prepare foods at home as a family; eat a diet rich in calcium; eat a high fiber diet; and breastfeed exclusively until 6 months and maintain breastfeeding after introduction of solid foods until 12 months of age.
     Annual checkups are important for many reasons. Getting feedback about your child's growth is important in making sure they are maintaining healthy growth. If your child is overweight or obese, they can help you make a plan to make positive changes in their diet and their activity level. Set a healthy example for your children by making healthy choices yourself.
     Do not get too discouraged about this issue. As families, as communities, and as a nation, we can help our children lead healthy lives.

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