Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weight Problems In Children : Parents, Take Action!

Information
In the U.S., at least one out of five kids is overweight. The number of overweight children continues to grow. Over the last two decades, this number has increased by more than 50 percent and the number of "extremely" overweight children has nearly doubled.
A doctor determines if children are overweight by measuring their height and weight. Although children have fewer weight-related health problems than adults, overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults. Overweight adults are at risk for a number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure stroke, and some forms of cancer.
Did You Know That...
Obese children and adolescents have shown an alarming increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes.
·         Many obese children have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.
·         One of the most severe problems for obese children is sleep apnea (interrupted breathing while sleeping). In some cases this can lead to problems with learning and memory.
·         Obese children have a high incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma.
·         Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.
Children become overweight for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. In rare cases, a medical problem, such as an endocrine disorder, may cause a child to become overweight. Your doctor can perform a careful physical exam and some blood tests, if necessary, to rule out this type of problem.
·         Genetic factors: Children whose parents or brothers or sisters are overweight may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves. Although weight problems run in families, not all children with a family history of obesity will be overweight. Genetic factors play a role in increasing the likelihood that a child will be overweight, but shared family behaviors such as eating and activity habits also influence body weight.
·         Lifestyle: A child's total diet and his or her activity level both play an important role in determining a child's weight. The increasing popularity of television and computer and video games contributes to children's inactive lifestyles. The average American child spends approximately 24 hours each week watching television-time that could be spent in some sort of physical activity.
Some of this information was obtained from the National Institute of Health. NIH Publication No. 97-4096 and NIH Word on Health, June 2002.
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