Living Well: Childhood Obesity
In 2010, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that about 23% of Wisconsin high school students are overweight or obese and about two thirds (66%) of Wisconsin adults are either overweight or obese.
Ideas for giving kids a healthier lifestyle
By Jodi Stamper, RN
Case Manager, Ministry Medical Group – Crandon and Laona.
Obesity is not an unfamiliar chronic disease in America, and unfortunately, the incidence of childhood obesity has continued to rise throughout the recent decades. A child under the age of 18 is considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), an obesity screening tool that factors ones height and weight, falls at the 95th percentile or above for their age on their growth chart.
Over time, childhood obesity can increase the risk for and lead to chronic health diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as behavioral health conditions such as depression and low self-esteem later on in life. A sedentary lifestyle, in addition to spending more than two hours watching television per day, also contributes to childhood obesity (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011). In 2010, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that about 23% of Wisconsin high school students are overweight or obese and about two thirds (66%) of Wisconsin adults are either overweight or obese.
Below are a few tips that parents, grandparents, caregivers and families can do to help create a healthier lifestyle for kids:
• Provide healthy meals and encourage healthier snacks such as apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, carrots, broccoli or other fruits and vegetables instead of chips, candy or fruit snacks.
• Reduce the amount of sweetened beverages your child drinks. Encourage water instead.
• Limit “screen time” (TV, Internet, video games) for your child to no more than two hours per day.
• Keep kids active! Whether it’s by playing sports, jump rope or tag, swimming, etc., children and teenagers should get 60 minutes of physical activity per day several days per week.
• Make activity a family event. It can be as simple as a family walk or bike ride or any other activities your family likes to do together. You can also include your neighbors and friends!
• Many communities are offering free activities to get you and your family moving. Contact your local health department or child’s school for more information on local activities.
Make sure to talk with your child’s healthcare provider before starting a weight loss diet for your child. By making healthy lifestyle decisions for and with your child, you can help to reduce their risk of developing chronic disease later in life.
For more information on health and wellness, please visit ministryhealth.org.