Childhood Obesity Prevention Starts Early

Image Caption : Childhood Obesity Prevention Starts Early : Today's generation of children is predicted to have a shorter lifespan, by 2-5 years, than their parents due to obesity and its related conditions. Childhood obesity childhood lays the ground for cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that teenagers can develop well-established fatty streaks (the precursors to plaque) in their coronary artery walls, and children as young as 10 can have plaque that may lead to heart attacks and strokes. Children with high blood cholesterol are likely to have elevated blood cholesterol as they grow older. It's much easier to prevent obesity than to cure it, so tackle overweight early on to keep your child healthy and fit-for life.

Obesity in Children

Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height. Children grow at different rates, so it isn't always easy to know when a child is obese or overweight. Ask your health care provider to check whether your child's weight and height are in a healthy range.

If a weight-loss program is necessary, involve the whole family in healthy habits so your child doesn't feel singled out. Encourage healthy eating by

  • Serving more fruits and vegetables
  • Buying fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snack foods
  • Making sure your child eats breakfast every day
  • Eating fast food less often
  • Not using food as a reward

Physical activity is also very important. Kids need about 60 minutes each day. It does not have to happen all at once. Several short periods of activity during the day are just as good.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.