Obesity affects more than 18% of children in the United States. Over the past several decades, fast food options have proliferated, and child-targeted food advertisements seem to be everywhere in today’s world.

Obesity is becoming one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, often leading to other illnesses throughout adulthood. In order to combat obesity, it’s important to know the causes and how to prevent them.

What Determines Obesity?

One in five children in the United States is overweight or obese. Children who are obese are more likely to develop health problems as adults.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the number on the scale is not the tell-all determinant of an unhealthy child. BMI, or body mass index, is a calculation based on height and weight.

A child in a high percentile for his or her age group may be considered overweight or obese. Though children’s BMI takes age into account, remember that kids grow at different rates.

The Role of Children’s Marketing in the Grocery Industry

When you take a trip to the grocery store, there’s a reason why the breakfast cereals with the most sugar are dressed in colorful and playful boxes.

They are usually also stocked on the lower shelves in order to catch children’s attention. Advertisers in the food industry spend more than $12 billion per year on children’s marketing. These advertisements may contribute to obesity and poor impulse control.

Helping Your Overweight Child

Kids tend to be emotional and impressionable throughout early childhood. Body image issues may arise due to societal standards along with what they see on TV and social media.

If your child is overweight, one of the best ways to help is communicating that you will support and love him or her at any weight. Talking to your children about their weight in an encouraging way allows for an open dialogue and healthy habits.

Children often learn by example. The habits you set as a parent likely have an influence on your children.

For example, an inactive or sedentary lifestyle can encourage children to spend too much time on their phones or in front of the television.

If you tend to order fast food multiple times a week, it can increase a child’s cravings for sodium, sugar, and foods with little nutritional value.

Combating Obesity From Infants to Teens

During early development, many health issues can be avoided with proper nutrition and lifestyle habits.

Breastfeeding, for instance, can contribute to a healthy weight for babies. Breastfeeding for the first six months of life and gradually introducing solid foods after six months can prepare children for nutritionally adequate meals.

Older kids and adolescents may be more prone to obesity because their bodies go through many developmental changes at that stage.

Puberty can cause weight gain and acne along with other physical developments. Limiting fats and sugars and promoting nutrient-dense foods can play a role in maintaining a healthy body during puberty.

Implement supportive guidelines at home and pay attention to your child’s diet to set the stage for healthy behavior.

Nutritional food choices during childhood can direct kids toward a lifetime of positive practices.

For more information on childhood obesity, some of its consequences, and how to prevent the disease in your family and community, consult the accompanying infographic.

This infographic was created by Kids Car Donations, a vehicle donation program

About The Author:

Kids Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations to better the lives of children. The organization partners with a number of well-known nonprofits serving children and teens who are confronted with physical, mental, and emotional challenges to provide the care they need.

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