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Childhood Obesity – common health problem

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With the sedentary lifestyle of most of the today’s children, childhood obesity is on the rise. The streets, once safe to play in have been traded for home PC’s and video games.

No longer required to sit at the table to eat meals, family meals are instead held in front of the television, prompting kids to gulp their food instead of chewing it carefully and looking at what they are eating. While home from school if they haven’t hit the fast-food restaurants with their friends, kids coming home to an empty house will be for the most part undisciplined snackers, grabbing whatever is handy to eat from the cupboards. Children eat when they are not hungry, when they are bored, when they are emotional. Food many times is a substitute for love.

School lunches are loaded with carbohydrates and fats, vending machines spit out candy, soda, starches all adding to the waist of the youth of America. Sports programs are the first in line to get cut out of school budgets, and physical education classes once required are now elective.

Our fast paced modern society has increased numbers in childhood obesity. Mothers home from work and in a hurry grab frozen foods to feed her young family, microwaving the food which in turn destroys whatever nutrients are found within.

Television ads entice young minds to desire foods that lead to obesity. French fries, large sandwiches, donuts and other goodies parade across the screen. Movie theaters sell large buckets of hot buttered popcorn, giant cokes and candy three times the size (and the price) of any found in a local grocery store.

Heavily sugared cereals are placed on the shelves that kids can reach of most grocery stores, more convenient to grab then the healthier, whole-grain products usually found on the top shelves.

Parents, who are obese, also have kids that are overweight and even the pets are not safe. Many obese people also have obese pets.

Childhood obesity is the most common health problem for small children. Studies have shown that kids growing up in a single parent home are more likely to be obese than those kids growing up with two parents.

Lower income families also have a high showing of obese adults and children. This being the result of needing money to pay bills and not having enough money left over at the end of the month to eat proper meals.

Obesity in children is not a selective problem, it occurs world-wide. Childhood obesity although prevalent does not mean that a child who is obese is readily accepted by his or her peers. An overweight child is subjected to bullying, teasing, and taunts. The obese child has low self-esteem and sometimes even struggles with suicidal thoughts.

Childhood Obesity
Childhood Obesity

If your child is overweight, then you should look at ways to increase their daily activity. Ways to help stop childhood obesity is to encourage your child to participate in active sports and limit computer time. Start eating meals at the dinner table, take daily walks with your child or encourage a hobby that allows the child some exercise, like bird-watching or just simply trail hiking. Introduce your child to a horse. Horses are great teachers, and learning to ride will improve self-confidence, teach balance and flexibility and depending on how involved your child is with the care of the horse, will also help the child to lose weight.

If you don’t live near horses or can’t fit one into your life, then consider a dog. A dog, especially those in the sporting group require daily walks and runs and interactive play. If help is needed you should consult a pediatrician about how to best handle the problem.

Buy only nutritious foods. Read those food labels carefully.

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