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Is Your Child At Risk for Weight and Health Problems?

Is Your Child At Risk for Weight and Health Problems?

 

Roughly 1 in 3 kids in America is overweight or obese but there are millions more that are on the borderline to becoming so.  Whether or not a child is obese is not measured by weight alone.  Your pediatrician calculates your child’s Body Mass Index or BMI.  Your BMI is your weight relative to your height.  For children, a BMI at or above the 85th percentile is considered obese.  For kids that are in the 85th percentile or close to the 85th percentile for BMI, there are many things we, as parents can do, to help them improve their health.

Without mentioning the word “weight” you can focus on making changes using the word “healthy” instead.  One way to help kids who are “over-eaters” is to help them recognize hunger cues and only eat when they really feel hungry.  Also, slowing down at mealtime to listen to your body and recognize if you are still hungry and need an extra helping or if you are actually full.  It is also possible to swap out unhealthy foods at home for a healthier option.  Talking about food as “fuel” for your body and showing how much fuel we need to make our bodies run well is a good way to make kids aware of what and how much they are eating.

Getting your child involved in physical activity is good to combat weight difficulties.  Be observant about the activities you sign your child up for.  Many sports and other physical activities may not really be providing your child with much physical movement.  Sometimes there is a lot of down time while coaches or teachers are explaining activities or skills.  Try to get your child involved in a sport or activity where they are getting 60 minutes of movement.  Also just getting kids to play outside is a fun way to get more physical activity. 

Helping your child now can help them avoid weight and health issues in the future.  Besides body image, being overweight can affect our children in many different ways.  The longer you have excess fat, the more your body will fight to keep that excess fat and maintain that lower metabolism.  This means that the longer you are overweight, the harder it is to lose weight.  Being overweight can cause a narrowing of the nasal passages which can lead to snoring and sleep apnea.  A disproportionately larger belly is linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease later in life.  Children carrying extra weight are more at risk for orthopedic issues such as knee pain, gait irregularities and hip injuries.  Children who are overweight are 4 times more likely to have fatty liver disease which can lead to heart problems later in life.

Teaching our children about eating healthy and exercise not only will benefit them but can help a family as a whole live a healthier and in turn, happier lifestyle.

 


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1935 County Road B2 West Suite 100 Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 636-4155