OVERCOMING CHILDHOOD OBESITY AN AMERICAN EPIDEMIC Presented by Family Voices of Tennessee
INTRODUCTION • Open your window on a sunny afternoon, and what do you hear? The chirping of singing birds? The yelling of playing children? Odds are these days that you'll hear the birds but not the children. As kids spend more time in front of television, computer and video screens, their physical activity levels have decreased. And their body weights have increased.
STATISTICS • 30 Years ago around 4% of children in the United States were overweight. • Today over 30% of our Nation’s children are not only overweight, they are considered morbidly obese. • If this trend continues, this will be the first generation in the United State to die before their parents.
CAUSE • Genetics • Hormonal • Excessive eating, poor food choices • Little exercise • T.V. computer and video games • Safety issues in neighborhoods
HEALTH RISKS • Type 2 diabetes • Metabolic syndrome • High blood pressure • Asthma and other respiratory problems • Sleep disorders • Liver disease • Early puberty or menarche • Eating disorders • Skin infections
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL FALLOUT • Low self-esteem and bullying. Children often tease or bully their overweight peers, who suffer a loss of self-esteem and an increased risk of depression as a result. • Behavior and learning problems. Overweight children tend to have more anxiety and poorer social skills than normal-weight children have. • Depression. Social isolation and low self-esteem create overwhelming feelings of hopelessness in some overweight children.
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE • If you're worried that your child is putting on too much weight, talk to his or her doctor or health care provider. He or she can provide a complete weight assessment, taking into account your child's individual history of growth and development, your family's weight-for-height history, and where your child lands on the growth charts. These evaluations help determine if your child's weight is in an unhealthy range.
SMALL STEPS TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE • Parents play a big role in shaping children’s eating habits. When parents eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and sugar and high in fiber, children learn to like these foods as well. • Parents have an effect on children’s physical activity habits as well. You can set a good example by going for a walk or bike ride after dinner instead of watching TV. Playing ball or jumping rope with your children shows them that being active is fun.
TALK TO YOUR SCHOOL • Find out more about the school’s breakfast and lunch programs and ask to have input into menu choices, or help your child pack a lunch that includes a variety of foods. Get involved in the parent-teacher association—PTA—to support physical education and after-school sports. • Talk with your school about implementing a Pedometer Walking Program.
Resources to Help • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/childhood-obesity/DS00698 • http://www.nih.gov/news/WordonHealth/jun2002/childhoodobesity.htm • http://www.healthiergeneration.org/engine/renderpage.asp • http://www.walkingworksforschoolstn.com/resources/ • http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/over_child.htm
of Tennessee Family-to-Family Health Information Center Family Resource Specialists: West TN: Treva Sease FVWest@tndisability.org Middle TN: Tonya Bowman FVMiddle@tndisability.org East TN: Camille Keck FVEast@tndisability.org