Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Childhood Obesity Awareness

September is the first ever Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Childhood obesity has become such a problem that we now have an entire month devoted to awareness about it. According to the CDC, Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%. It is of such importance to our country, that there is a Presidential Proclamation encouraging Americans to take action now. You can read it here.

The CDC explains that obesity is the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) and is mediated by genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term health impacts:

-Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
-Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
-Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

A healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating and physical activity can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases mentioned above. There is a wealth of information available to help in these areas.

If you have a child who is obese, take steps to help him/her get back to a healthy weight. If your child's weight is acceptable, be proactive by encouraging healthy habits so that obesity does not occur later in life.

As the month continues, we will highlight specific ways you can help your kids maintain or achieve healthy habits. It's not an easy thing to do. There is so much in society today that draws our children away from healthy habits, but fortunately there are many ways you can help. We talk a lot in this blog about Exploramania's award-winning Exploracise Gymathtics DVD. It's a great way to get physical activity that is fun and educational. There is so much else out there that we want to discuss with you. So stay tuned and be assured that Exploramania is concerned and wants to help.

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