Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. Nearly 1-5 school-age children in the U.S are obese. It's particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once considered adult problems — diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.
One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the eating and exercise habits of your entire family. Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect your child's health now and in the future. The goal for children who are overweight is to reduce the rate of weight gain while allowing normal growth and development. Children should NOT be placed on a weight reduction diet without the consultation of a health care provider.
Set a good example. Make healthy eating and regular physical activity a family affair. Everyone will benefit and no one will feel singled out
Have healthy snacks available. Options include air-popped popcorn without butter, fruits with low-fat yogurt, baby carrots with hummus, or whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk.
Offer new foods multiple times. Don't be discouraged if your child doesn't immediately like a new food. It usually takes multiple exposures to a food to gain acceptance.
Reduce sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day.
Be sure your child gets enough sleep. Too little sleep is associated with obesity, partly because inadequate sleep makes us eat more and be less physically active.
Remember that small changes every day can lead to success!
Also, be sure your child sees the doctor for well-child checkups at least once a year. During this visit, the doctor measures your child's height and weight and calculates his or her BMI. A significant increase in your child's BMI percentile rank over one year may be a possible sign that your child is at risk of becoming overweight.