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The Problem Is Sitting Right in Front of You

Filed Under: Baby and Child Health at 7:34 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Obese ChildIsn’t childhood obesity a crying shame? Isn’t it just awful how parents let their children accumulate pounds and pounds of fat without doing a thing? What a relief that you don’t have to worry about weight problems with your own kids. How nice that you are aware of their health and size as many adults are not. Speaking of which, where are your kids? Is that them in your living room, watching their sixth episode of Hannah Montana with a bag of Cheetos each and waistbands that rival their more than rotund grandfather’s? What were you saying about their weight?

While nearly all parents acknowledge that childhood obesity is a growing trend, few are aware of the problem’s existence in their own homes.  They rarely admit that their children are slightly overweight, let alone obese, which is certainly alarming. If the weight epidemic plaguing our youths is going to be conquered, action needs to start at home. We can’t rely solely on our schools and communities to offer better foods and more opportunities for movement; we have to provide both as well.

Remove your blinders and assess your child’s weight. If he is overweight or obese, you need to start taking the steps necessary to rectify that. Limit television time (less than two hours).  Encourage at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity, but do not worry about making him sweat gallons. What’s important is the amount of movement, not the intensity (although you should aim for moderate to vigorous rather than snail-pace).  And offer nutritious foods instead of junk. If you lessen his weight, you’ll also lessen his risk of developing high blood pressure and poor cholesterol. And the next time you’re standing at your backyard fence commenting on the atrocities of negligent parents and childhood obesity, you won’t have to worry that your own offspring will label you a hypocrite.

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