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The Escalating Effects of Childhood Obesity

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Eat. Eat. Eat.

This seems to be a concept that a lot of Americans have grown accustomed to. And it’s a custom that continues to trickle down with America’s youth.

Adolescents today are more overweight than ever before.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and more than quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

The percentage of children aged 6 to 11 in the United States who were reported obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. During the same period, the percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 who were obese increased from 5 percent to 21 percent, according to the CDC.

CAUSES BEHIND OVERWEIGHT YOUTH

Unfortunately, there isn’t one answer or solution to the question: “Why are so many kids overweight?”

The most common causes of obesity are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors, according to WebMD.

However, even though there may be evidence to support the notion that weight problems run in your family, not all families with a history of weight issues experience being overweight in their lifetime.

Children whose parents or brothers or sisters are overweight, may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves, but this can also be linked to the family’s shared behaviors like eating habits and physical exercise.

A child’s overall diet and physical activity plays a major role in the child’s weight. Today, many children spend a great deal of time being inactive.

For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television, according to MayoClinic. As electronic devices such as iPads and video games continue to grow increasingly popular, so will inactivity.

THE RISK FACTORS

The more a child becomes overweight, the more health factors he or she will endure. Obese children are at risk for a number of health conditions, including:

• High cholesterol.
• High blood pressure.
• Early heart disease.
• Diabetes.
• Bone problems.
• Skin conditions such as heat rash, acne, and fungal infections.

A PLAN OF ATTACK

According to healthychildren.org, if you have an overweight child, it’s very important as a parent to remain supportive. It is not recommended that parents set their children apart because of their weight.

Instead, parents should focus on looking for ways to change and improve their family’s diet and physical activity. When the entire family becomes involved, everyone can work together to learn healthy eating habits, and the overweight child won’t feel singled out.

Create a plan of attack as soon as possible. The quicker you react as a family, the better off the child’s health will be.

It’s never too late.

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