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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month


Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States, putting children and adolescents at higher risk for health problems that can become serious.

According to the WHO, the number of obese infants and children from ages 0 to 5 years increased from 32 million globally in 1990 to 41 million by the year 2016. These numbers are far too high, and that is why September has been deemed Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is purposed to call out the issue, combatting it through education and overall awareness.

Consequences of Childhood Obesity

When children and adolescents struggle with obesity, they are much more likely to develop a variety of potentially serious health problems as they mature, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insulin resistance, which is often a sign of impending diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal disorders, primarily osteoarthritis
  • Some cancers including but not limited to endometrial, breast, and colon cancers
  • Other various disabilities

Childhood obesity can also be linked to:

  • Psychological issues like anxiety and depression
  • Social problems including bullying and stigma
  • Low self-esteem, and lower quality of life

Contributing Factors of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a complex health issue, with contributing factors ranging from genetics to behaviors. On the behavior front, consuming high-calorie and low-nutrient foods and beverages, the use of some medications, and poor sleep routines can contribute to excessive weight gain and childhood obesity. Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle can also be a contributor.

On the other hand, consuming healthy foods and maintaining a healthy level of physical activity can help children grow properly and maintain a healthy body weight. It’s important to strike a balance between calories consumed and expended. These conscientious behaviors can also help prevent certain chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers too.

Tips for Keeping Your Child Healthy:

  1. Emphasize a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
  2. Encourage physical activity! The WHO recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily for kids ages 5 to 17.
  3. Make them hydrate! Lots of H2O and limited sugary drinks will help children maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Observe mealtimes with intermittent healthy snacks. Work to teach your kids these healthy eating habits early.
  5. Make sure snacks are healthy and nutritious! Think raw veggies with hummus, apples, bananas, grapes, smoothies, and maybe even homemade kale chips. Try this kale chip recipe at home, and let your kids help!

Remember that small changes each day can lead to big differences in better health! If you are concerned about your child’s weight, be sure to talk with your Galen pediatrician for guidance and support. We are always here to help!