September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Childhood obesity affects approximately one in five children in the United States. Obesity is measured by taking a child’s body-mass index (BMI) and evaluating where this number falls on a BMI age-growth chart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a table to make it possible to compare the BMI with those of other children of the same age and height. Other factors that need to be considered are the type of body frame, musculature, and the child’s development pattern.
There are many reasons why a child may become obese. Often obese children come from families where there are poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity. Other contributing factors can include stress, boredom, and depression as well as living in a community with limited accessibility to healthy food choices.
Obesity in children puts them at risk of developing chronic illnesses later in life such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, arthritis, and heart disease. It also makes children more prone to depression, low self-esteem and susceptible to bullying.
Ways to control a child’s weight include:
- Limit fast food
- Increase fruits and vegetables in the diet
- Limit sweet drinks
- Limit desserts and unhealthy snacks
- Eat together as a family when possible
- Regulate portion sizes
- Increase physical activity, not just exercise
- Decrease the amount of time spent watching TV or on the computer
Jamaica Hospital strives to help prevent childhood obesity by participating in workshops throughout the year at schools and at community health fairs by providing educational materials and guidance on proper nutrition. To speak with a pediatrician about childhood obesity, please call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.