Obesity in children is a real issue and we as a nation need a wake up call. However the ad like the one above is NOT the answer. Learn more how to take action to make sure your child is living a healthy lifestyle, read what various experts say, and learn how you can help to spread the word to others as well to fight the obesity in children – with the right tactics.
Facts About Childhood Obesity
A recent study by University of North Carolina researchers examined whether doctors informed parents that their children were overweight. More accurately, it looked at whether or not parents remembered their doctor’s sharing this. The study analyzed government surveys of almost 5,000 parents of overweight children, and found that less than 25% of the parents recalled the doctor ever saying there was a problem.
The children today are being seen with abnormal cholesterol levels and even the beginning stages of atherosclerosis and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued new guidelines regarding children and cholesterol and now recommend all children between the ages of 9 and 11 should have their cholesterol levels checked.
“It is a big change, because formerly the recommendation was only for those who had a family history of high cholesterol,” explains Dr. Pamela McCullough, a pediatric nurse practitioner and the director of the nursing program at Stratford University’s Woodbridge campus. “This should be seen by many parents as a sign of our times and what is going on with the lifestyles we are raising our children to lead. It is also a great time for families to learn all they can, and to make changes in order to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Health experts Dian Griesel, Ph.D., and Tom Griesel, authors of the new book TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (April 2011, BSH) say that even though being overweight or obese is becoming common in America, it is not a normal condition and should be easily recognized by an untrained eye, especially by doctors.
“Being obese or overweight is widely known to come with significant health risks as well as potential negative emotional conditions,” says Tom Griesel. “Fat kids are often ostracized by their peers and this can continue into adulthood. The time to address the condition is as early as possible with the education and introduction of healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Overweight children often have overweight parents and siblings who make it seem normal or perhaps somehow genetic. This belief is wrong. Nobody is destined to be obese or overweight.”
“As individuals, parents, health care providers and a society facing escalating chronic disease and the associated healthcare costs, we all need to assume responsibility for the problem and work together at improving the situation,” adds Dian Griesel.
Take Action to Take Care of Your Children
1. Healthy Diet
Focus on eating a healthy diet. This will help reverse and prevent obesity, which should also lead to a reduction in cholesterol levels. Dietary cholesterol is found in animal-based foods, such as meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. Focusing the family diet on healthy meals that include minimal amounts of animal products is ideal. The goal is to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-cholesterol sources of protein (e.g., beans, tofu, nuts, lentils, etc.). Eliminate sugar and sweeteners along with refined and processed foods and replace them with natural whole foods. Just be reducing the amount of “boxed food” makes a big difference.
2. Add Activity Level
Increase your child’s activity level with physical activity. Children should get at least one hour of physical activity per day, which includes such things as running, brisk walking, playing sports, bike riding, etc. It doesn’t have to be organized sports activity like playing a team sports, but playing outside in the yard, or walking to school or helping parents to do yard work are also great examples of physical activities children can do. Read the recommended activity levels here.
3. Limit TV & Gaming Time
Today’s children spend way too much screen time. Once you limit the screen time, many children automatically add more physical activity on their daily routine.
5 Tips to Get Kids to Eat Healthier
“Parents may be surprised by just how much influence there is for kids to eat unhealthily,” explains Jolly Backer, the chief executive officer of Fresh Healthy Vending. “This is why it is so important for parents, educators and other adults to make an ongoing effort to get kids to make healthier eating decisions.”
Here are 5 easy tips to get kids to eat healthier:
1. Get the kids involved in cooking and making the food choices.
Children who have fun and are involved are more likely to remember the information. The more kids are involved, the more they will get out of the experience. To learn about healthy food and nutrition, they can help garden, plan and prepare meals, etc. A fun way to do this is to let your child to pick two vegetables or fruits they want to try out or eat at the farmers market. Let the child explore and learn. You can find recipes for vegetables you’ve never tried before together and trying out new foods and recipes can be a fun adventure and activity to do together.
2. Teach children about healthy choices.
Even younger children can learn about what is healthy and not, label reading, and making healthy choices. Take the time to teach children why making healthy food choices is a better route, teach them how to read labels, etc.
3. Snack healthy.
Children usually need a couple of snacks to keep them going throughout the day. The CDC recommends that kids keep snacks to under 100 calories and it is ideal to have those snacks be low-fat and low-sugar. Help kids learn to identify healthier snack options when they see them, such as fruits and vegetables, yogurt, granola bars, and baked chips.
4. Be a role model.
One of the most important things that parents can do in order to get their kids to eat healthier is to model healthy eating habits. When parents eat healthy, they are demonstrating to their children the ideal way to eat. Consistently modeling this, over time, will influence children, even if it is years later.
5. Influence change and take action.
Work with school administrators and others to influence healthy changes. For example, work with your school to get healthier snacks and lunch options on campus, and work with local legislators to place limits on junk food commercials on television. This will also show your child you are taking this seriously, and taking action overall shows a great example for your child.
#Ashamed Twitter Party Lead by Leah Segedie of Mamavation
The Strong4Life Campaign has purchased billboard ads all over the State of Georgia and has TV commercials such as the video below in hopes to promote a “wake-up call” to Georgian parents about childhood obesity and urge parents to act on it.
One of the slogan reads “being fat takes the fun out of being a kid” and the obese children are pictured in the ads.
While fighting against childhood obesity is is important, Strong 4 Life decided to create ads that are so controversial, they are down right offensive and hurtful to children.
Mom blogging and health-based communities all over the internet are uniting today, Friday, January 27th from 9-10pm EST to petition the @Strong_4_Life Campaign and the State of Georgia to cease a child obesity campaign before it does any more damage to children.
This Twitter event is lead by Leah Segedie of Mamavation who says “Pointing the finger at this poor child only succeeds in making her feel worse. In fact, I would go even further to say that THIS AD CREATES EATING DISORDERS IN CHILDREN. They are made to feel more shame about who they are.”
Join us on the #Ashamed Twitter event tonight.
Time: Friday, January 27th from 9-10pm EST
Purpose: To protest the Strong4Life Ads in the State of Georgia and chat about obesity and ways to solve problem
How are you taking action to stop childhood obesity?
University of North Carolina
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Health experts Dian Griesel, Ph.D., and Tom Griesel
Leah Segedie of Mamavation
Jolly Backer, CEO of Fresh Healthy Vending