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The Health Risks Associated with Childhood Obesity

Photo: Courtesy of Markus Spiske

Unfortunately, childhood obesity has been on the rise. Millions of children aren’t getting the right mix of healthy foods and physical activity. It is estimated that one in five school-aged children (ages 6 through 19) are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A child with obesity may be at risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bone and joint problems and sleep apnea.

These figures are staggering, but there is hope if we take action now. Let’s establish healthy home environments that center around food, nutrition and physical activity. The single best thing a parent or caregiver can do is to model the behaviors you want to see in your children.

Good nutrition is especially important for children because it is directly linked to all aspects of their growth and development which will affect them as adults. And children with obesity tend to become adults with obesity. Their future health rests in our hands.

Offering children a variety of foods from all of the food groups, eating together as a family and teaching kids age-appropriate cooking skills are all great ways to incorporate healthy habits into their daily routines.

Take the time to reevaluate your family’s lifestyle in and outside of the kitchen. Give your children an opportunity to get a healthy dose of daily exercise. Make sure your child eats breakfast to fuel their day. Limit eating out to avoid large portion sizes. Provide healthy snacks to keep your little ones’ hunger at bay and help them avoid overeating at meals.

Be a role model. Choose healthy foods and beverages that reinforce healthy habits in your children that will last them a lifetime.

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