As parents we have the enormous responsibly to move our children in a healthier direction. It’s our job to expose them to living a healthy lifestyle and there is no better way than for parents to lead and teach by example. We must educate our children in the importance of eating a healthy, clean and well balanced diet, and we must stress the importance of “daily” exercise. Unfortunately, many parents are clearly not doing their job; childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years (as well as adult obesity).
The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 35% in 2011. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 38% over the same period. Personally, I find these statistics disturbing and in my book totally inexcuseable. It’s lazy and careless parenting and you are just setting your child up for a poor quality of life, filled with various and often avoidable health problems.
* Immediate health effects:
Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5 to 17 year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for the development of diabetes. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
* Long-term health effects: Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Do you really want to set your kids up to face a future of poor health? Take the time to educate yourself, to stay informed and make the necessary lifestyle changes in your lives to set your family up with a bright, active, full and healthy life.
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