What is obesity?
Simply stated, obesity is too much body fat. A child whose weight is more than 20% then the recommended weight for other children of that size and stature is considered obese.
Is childhood obesity really an epidemic?
The answer is YES. It is estimated that 23% of children aged 2 to 18 years are overweight. 32% of Hispanic and Black children are overweight as compared to 26% of White children. Obesity is so common among children that the medical community does consider it an epidemic.
What complications are obese children at greater risk for?
• Early puberty
• Gastro intestinal complications
• Heart disease
In addition to these complications, obese children will usually become obese adults. The risk of complications for obese children increase ten fold for obese adults.
How do children become obese?
Childhood obesity is caused by heredity, eating/exercise habits, and environmental factors. Families with obese parents tend to produce obese children. Obese children tend to eat larger portions and high fat and high calorie foods. Physical activity, or lack of activity, plays a significant factor in obesity. There are some physical conditions like endocrine problems, which are known to cause obesity as well.
What should a concerned parent do?
Since the fat loss industry generates millions of dollars each year, it is difficult to determine what information you read is fact and what is aimed at selling you a fat loss solution. If you are concerned about your child’s weight, talk to your pediatrician. Your pediatrician will offer sound advice on eating and nutrition.
If your child is obese, you will not be judged. Parents of obese children do try to feed their children the best way they know how. With all of the fast food choices and high sugar and convenience foods readily available, parents are fighting a loosing battle. Your pediatrician can help your family make major life changes, which will get your child back to a healthy weight.