As much as 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States are affected by childhood obesity. Health risks associated with the condition include high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, breathing issues, joint problems, as well as a greater risk for social and psychological problems. The following tips are general guidelines to improve patients’ health and prevent childhood obesity:
- Provide Physical Activity
Include more physical activity as part of your child’s routine. Children and adolescents should have 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. Physical activity may include aerobic activity (brisk walking, running), muscle strengthening (gymnastics, push-ups), and bone strengthening (jumping rope, running).
- Make a Healthy Food Choice
Educate yourself and your family about healthy choices, such as serving water instead of drinks with added sugar, providing fruits and vegetables, as well as limiting foods high in fat and sugar.
- Be Engaged
Take some time to visit the childcare centers and learn more about the foods and drinks they serve to determine if it includes healthier choices, as well as whether they limit TV and video time.
- Monitor Media Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children get no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming daily—at home, school, or childcare.
- Be a Voice in the Community
As a member of the community, you can also work with schools to limit foods and drinks with added sugar, fat, and salt that can be purchased outside the school lunch program.