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Un-Super Sizing Kids
You’ve probably heard by now that Americans are getting larger. And adults are not the only ones struggling to control their weight. Childhood obesity is a developing epidemic. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the rate of overweight children has increased 60 to 70 percent since the early 1990s. According to studies recently released at the American Heart Association conference about a third of U.S. children are overweight and one-fifth are considered obese.

Evidence shows that obesity in children is more than just a cosmetic issue. Overweight and obese children are commonly plagued by low self-esteem, anxiety disorders, isolation from peers and eating disorders. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that overweight children are at risk for serious health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea. Long-term consequences of these symptoms and diseases include poor school attendance and performance as well as increased health care costs.

Many parents think that “baby fat” will magically melt away as kids grow. But research increasingly shows that overweight kids become overweight adults.


One of the main factors linked with maintaining a healthy weight is getting adequate physical exercise. So how do you pull your kids away from the TV or computer screen and get them moving? It’s not always easy. But for their sakes it’s time to seriously deal with the issue of childhood obesity and physical inactivity. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Be a role model. Your actions usually dictate your child’s activity level. A number of studies show that when parents model and encourage physical activity, the difference in children is significant. Schedule walks, bike rides, lawn games or swimming and insist that the kids join in. Children can also help with yard work and cleaning projects.

Plan organized group activities. Check into the types of activities offered in your area that interest kids. Talk with other parents to coordinate participation and transportation.

Set clear limits on sedentary time. Let your kids know how much time each day they are allowed to surf the Web, watch TV, play video games and text their friends. Talk with them about the reasons for setting these limits. Then be consistent and firm in enforcing your standards.

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

References: www.americanheart.org and www.cdc.gov

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