As a parent, getting your child to eat healthy and be active can be difficult. Some youth find the act of being healthy a chore, and often fight parents on doing it. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, obesity most often develops from ages 5 to 6 or during the teen years, and studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult. A recent article by the New York Times discusses the significant health risks childhood obesity has on youth.
Effects of Childhood Obesity
Life-threatening conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are more commonly heard of effecting adults, but they can also be consequences of childhood obesity. Two new studies, conducted on over half a million children, linked a childhood obesity to an increased risk of developing colon cancer and suffering from an early stroke as adults.
When is Your Child Considered Obese
Children are generally considered obese when their B.M.I. is at or above the 95th percentile for others of the same age and sex. Currently, one-third of American children are overweight or suffering with childhood obesity. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 18 percent of children and 21 percent of adolescents were dealing with childhood obesity.
Studies on Childhood Obesity
Many people assume that children dealing with childhood obesity won’t see the effects of major health risks until later in life, if they still struggle with obesity. But studies have shown that childhood obesity starts to effect youth early on. Dr. Stephen R. Daniels, a pediatrician at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital in Denver, found that problems in many organ systems were often apparent long before adulthood. They include high blood pressure; insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes; heart-damage and high levels of cholesterol; liver disease; obstructive sleep apnea; asthma; and excess stress on the musculoskeletal system resulting in abnormal bone development, knee and hip pain, and difficulty walking.
Youth suffering from childhood obesity are also at a greater risk for developing mental health issues. Obese adolescents have higher rates of depression, which in itself can foster poor eating and exercise patterns that add to their weight issues. They’re also more likely to have poor body image and self-esteem.
Urge for Change
This information reveals the critical importance on promoting healthy eating habits and exercise patterns in all youth. Parents should encourage children to be active and make healthy decisions, without labeling them as overweight or obese. Commenting on kid’s weight can actually harm their self-esteem, increasing their unhealthy habits. It is important that parents encourage kids by changing their environment and creating opportunities for them to be active.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.
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