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There’s no way to sugar coat it: More and more of our kids are overweight. In fact, obesity rates among kids and teens has tripled since the 1970s. [1] Now, nearly 20 percent of our kids are overweight, though that number may be higher in different parts of the country. [2]

Because obesity is associated with so many health concerns, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed several tools, resources, and recipes for both physicians and parents. [3] Take a look at the HealthyChildren.org website:

HealthyChildren-Website

Why are more kids becoming overweight?

The short answer is: There are lots of reasons. Some kids have genetic predispositions. Some kids are at greater risk because of home and family environments, or social factors, or unhealthy communities. According to the CDC, [2] obesity often occurs because of the following:

  • “too much time spent being inactive
  • lack of sleep
  • lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
  • easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
  • lack of access to affordable, healthier foods”

How can I help my child achieve a healthy weight?

Eat right and exercise. It’s no mystery that kids who eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise are less likely to become obese. As their parent, provide your kids with healthy snacks and meals with lots of fruits and vegetables. Encourage 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and participate with them. Families that are active together develop the foundation for life-long health.

You may also want to use the CDC’s BMI Percentile Calculator for Child and Teen. [4] It’s quick and easy to use:

BMI Calculator

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/features/childhoodobesity/index.html
  3. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/the-very-hungry-caterpillar/Pages/default.aspx
  4.  https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/bmi/calculator.html
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