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Monday, November 29, 2010

Fighting Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity effects children and adolescents and is a very serious medical condition. When a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height, they are considered obese. Childhood obesity is especially serious because it can lead to many other health problems later in life, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

One of the best strategies at reducing childhood obesity is to improve the diet and exercise habits of the whole family. Here are some things you can do: Be Supportive, Encourage Healthy Eating Habits, Encourage Daily Physical Activity, Discourage Inactive Pastimes, Be a Positive Role Model

Obesity is diagnosed by calculating the body mass index (BMI), which uses height and weight measurements to estimate how much body fat a person has.

underweight: BMI below the 5th percentile
normal weight: BMI at the 5th and less than the 85th percentile
overweight: BMI at the 85th and below 95th percentiles
obese: BMI at or above 95th percentile

It’s important to provide nutritious food alternatives to children when they are young so they can learn about healthy foods at an early age.

Eating Tips: Healthy Snack Ideas

Your child might enjoy trying the following foods:

- Fresh fruit.
- Fruit canned in juice or light syrup.
- Small amounts of dried fruits, such as raisins, apple rings, or apricots.
- Fresh vegetables, such as baby carrots, cucumber, zucchini, or tomatoes.
- Low-sugar, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk.

Television personality Rachael Ray started her own non-profit organization called Yum-o as a way to empower kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.

Here’s a little bit about Yum-o:

Launched in 2006 by Rachael Ray, Yum-o!® is a nonprofit organization that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking by teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids and funding cooking education and scholarships.

Eating habits are formed at a young age and, if kids are given opportunities and knowledge, they will make better food choices. Yum-o! envisions a country where all kids experience the joys of cooking and eating nourishing food.

Visit Yum-o at http://www.yum-o.org/. The web site has all kinds of great stuff that will be a big help. There are pages on Kitchen how-to, recipes, games and more. Make sure you check it out!

Here are some other links to helpful information:

Helping Your Overweight Child Helping Your Overweight Child (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

Overweight and Obesity (Kids Health from Nemours Foundation)

Other links:

Families Finding the Balance: A Parent Handbook (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) – PDF

Help Your Child Stay at a Healthy Weight (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)

Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children (American Heart Association)

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