How to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Wednesday, January 07, 2009 by: Jo Hartley
Tags: childhood obesity, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Children today are faced with many struggles. The most serious and widespread health problem they face, unfortunately, is obesity. Between 1986 and 1998 a national survey conducted showed that the incidence of obesity doubled in children between the ages of four and twelve. This is a 12% increase during this period. The good news is that this is a completely avoidable health problem that can be prevented.

Childhood obesity has several major causes:

•Inactivity – lack of exercise and activity
•Drinking sugared drinks and juice instead of water
•Eating refined sugar and foods that contain refined sugars
•Eating junk food

Overweight children are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and depression because of their weight. Obesity has a huge emotional effect on a child. Overweight children are also at higher risk for increased health issues like gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

If a child suffers from obesity during childhood and becomes afflicted with diabetes, this illness will almost certainly sentence them to a premature death. A child who develops diabetes is likely to develop kidney failure or heart disease and the associated side effects of diabetes include blindness and arterial disease.

Parents are the key factor to controlling obesity in children. A parent's positive involvement in their child's diet will help prevent obesity and a future life of chronic and preventable diseases.

If children are taught to avoid foods and beverages that contain refined sugars and other junk foods and replace these foods with whole foods that contain real nutrients that build up the body instead of tearing it down, they will grow to be strong and healthy adults. Children also need to be taught the importance of regular exercise to grow strong and healthy bodies and to enjoy the benefits of the hormones that are released with exercise.

It is important to note, however, that even if a parent is faced with a child with a weight problem, a child should never be placed on an overly-restrictive diet or not allowed to eat when they are hungry. A child needs nutrients and calories to enable them to develop and grow as they should. The key is to make sure that these calories come from whole foods and not processed foods.

Ways to Improve a Child's Health:

•Reduce and strive to eliminate refined sugar intake. Refined sugars are the main reason behind obesity and are prevalent in just about all processed foods. For every sugary drink a child consumes each day their obesity risk rises 60%.
•Encourage children to drink pure water for thirst.
•Encourage daily exercise. Children who are overweight need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Initially walking is a good activity, but gradually increase the intensity to more strenuous exercise. Encourage team sports if there is interest also.

Exercise also helps stabilize blood glucose levels and this is a very important aspect of diabetes prevention and control. Exercise also helps cells respond more readily to insulin.

Emotions often are a very integral part of childhood obesity. When children develop the habit of eating in response to emotions they may face difficulty succeeding at weight loss. A child may also have problems with junk food cravings because this food has brought them emotional comfort that they have erroneously learned to rely on.

With firm, loving support of involved parents a child does not have to be sentenced to a lifetime of poor health and disease. When parents make smart decisions about their own lifestyles they can more effectively encourage and teach their children to do the same.


About the author

Jo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything! - Current Events - Simply Abundant Living

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