How to Reverse the Trend of Obesity in Children

Obesity has become a health issue of almost epidemic proportions in our society today. Not only is this condition affecting a large percentage of the adult population, it is also trickling down to affect our teens and children in a major way. Currently, statistics show that one in every five kids is considered obese by the national standard. This figure has doubled within the past thirty years, and seems to be on a steady rise. When you consider that overweight or obese people are at much higher risks for developing serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, it is easy to see why it is so important to understand the causes of obesity in children. Perhaps by learning what causes the condition, parents and health care providers can go far in preventing and treating the condition before it becomes a bigger health risk.

What are the Causes of Obesity in Children?

The first cause of obesity in children is genetics, and is unfortunately the one cause that cannot be completely prevented. If your parents are either overweight or obese, chances are that you will be prone to this condition as well. The question then becomes whether the increased risk of obesity comes from the actual genetic makeup or from the lifestyle factors that are learned from the parents throughout childhood. Either way, there are ways that you can reduce the risk of becoming obese, even if your genes are working against you. First, develop good eating habits early in life, and stick with them into adulthood. This means selecting fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products in place of high fat and low nutrition choices. It also means eating only when you are hungry, instead of snacking out of boredom or habit.

The second cause of obesity in children often stems from a sedentary lifestyle. Most people gain too much weight because they are taking in many more calories than they are burning. You can put this balance back in your favor by making sure that you and your children are getting plenty of physical activity every day. Unfortunately, outdoor play has to compete for our kids’ attention spans with choices like the television, computer and video games. These activities are fine in moderation, but too much viewing can lead to too little exercise. Make sure that you are limiting the amount of time that the game consoles and television are on, and spend plenty of time playing outdoors with your kids. You can take family walks or bike rides, or organize a neighborhood basketball game. Keep your kids active as much as possible, and another cause of childhood obesity will fall by the wayside.

Obesity is a huge health problem in our society today, for kids and teens as well as adults. The good news is that by understanding the causes of obesity in children today, we can go a long ways in preventing this condition in the future.