One in three American children are overweight or obese. Their weight may wreak havoc on their health. Some children are showing signs of health problems once thought to only affect adults, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. It can affect not only their physical health but their emotional health, as well. Children with obesity face more bullying and stigma than their slimmer counterparts.
As we often carry habits with us from childhood to adulthood, we encourage you to strive to convert children’s bad habits into healthier habits in order to both prevent and reduce obesity. Obese children are likely to become obese adults. By encouraging healthy habits in childhood, we can take a step toward reducing childhood obesity, and possibly adult obesity.
How can you help? You don’t have to be a parent, educator, doctor, or lawmaker to help. Anybody can get involved in being part of the solution. Here are a few ideas how:
- Be a positive role model. Eat well and exercise. Your children, nieces or nephews, and pint sized neighbors will see you.
- Get involved with activities with kids. Be a coach, play basketball at the park, start a game of family football during a holiday get together.
- If you attend a get together, bring a high nutrient, lower calorie food that is also kid friendly (like a vegetable and hummus platter, meat and cheese roll ups, or fruit salad).
- Encourage water over soda or other sugary beverages.
- Encourage healthy eating habits at school by packing a nutritious lunch or discussing which school lunch option is the best choice each day.
- Do not use food (or candy) as a reward.
- When you meet a child in a social situation, ask them what sports they like and tell them what activities you like as well. Or ask them their favorite vegetable. It could be a good ice breaker.
While September may be the month designated to highlight the need for more action and education to help children lead healthier lives, it doesn’t have to end in September. We can work on it all year long. However large or small, each thing we do to encourage healthier eating and activity in children is positive. Try to challenge yourself to dig deeper and do more for our children each day. They are our future, and we should all try to make it a bright one.
This above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA, a board certified surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and obesity surgery, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric surgery patients come from all over South Florida, including Boca Raton, Miami, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and as far away as Orlando and Jacksonville. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients have the potential to serve as excellent role models as they already incorporate smaller portions, high protein, low calorie beverages and foods, and regular physical activity into their daily lives. For more information about adult obesity and weight loss surgery, call (561) 483-8840 or visit www.drshillingford.com.