Monday, October 16, 2017

Paving The Way to A Healthy Weight in Children

Obesity continues to be a priority health challenge in the US which it is putting children at jeopardy for poor physical, social and emotional outcomes throughout their lifetime.  Despite recent declines in the prevalence among preschool-aged children (according to the CDC children aged 2 to 5 years decreased from 13.9% in 2003-2004 to 9.4% in 2013-2014) , obesity among school aged children (6- 19) is still too high. In that age group 1 in 5 are overweight or obese. It is a frightening reality that "today's children may live a shorter life than their parents".
Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term impacts. Obese children are at higher risk of chronic health conditions (sleep apnea, joint problems, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease) often once only seen in the older population. Obese children are teased and bullied more than their healthier weight peers leading to social isolation, depression and low self-esteem.
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight begins early in life. Parents must set good example of what healthy eating, hydration, exercise, stress management and daily rest & rejuvenation looks like. Parents should also seek the assistance of their children's physician for programs that focus on lifestyle behaviors that help maintain a sense of well being for the entire family. One such program is the care process model (CPM) which was created to promote proven approaches to lifestyle and weight management that can be implemented in routine primary care.
Check out "Rx to Live Well" as an example of where you as parents can begin. 
We must all learn to develop a healthy relationship with food which uses food for what it was intended for...nourishment for the body. There is a lot to be gained from the saying..."we should eat to live and not live to eat".

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