Childhood Obesity - Simple, understandable help and information for the parents of obese children and teens.
A child or teen is obese or overweight if their BMI number is over the 95th percentile.
Screening--To find out what your child or teen's BMI percentage is, they should be screened by a doctor or health care professional. Adult BMI is not the same as a child or teen BMI. Your child or teen's doctor can and should calculate this percentage for your child or teen. If your child or teen has health conditions due to obesity or being overweight, most insurance companies require this calculation to be done and documented by a physician or health care provider for possible health care coverage due to the disease of obesity.
The two most common CAUSES of Childhood Obesity -- Eating too much food and exercising too little. It sounds so simple, but it's not.
Children and teens who eat more food than their bodies require for energy and growth, will store the excess food as fat. Kids will eat the food, the food will be broken down or digested by the body and the excess food, not used for energy or growth, will be stored as fat. For this fat to be burned off in the future, the body will have to need those stored calories. The body uses stored calories or fat in times of prolonged or lengthy exercise, sickness, and starvation, or lack of food. Most kids who exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, can usually start the fat burning process provided they are not overeating. There are other reasons for kids to gain weight or be obese like a genetic disease called Prader-Willi syndrome or a hormonal condition called hypothyroidism. Those conditions are rare, so always remember the number one cause of childhood obesity is poor eating and exercise habits. Luckily habits can be broken!
The two most common TREATMENTS for Childhood Obesity -- Healthy eating and daily exercise. Again it sounds so simple, but it's not.
Healthy eating is eating food that provides the nutrients and calories needed by the body for growth and development. Generally if a child or teen eats foods from all the food groups, their nutrient requirements should be met. Exact exercise needs are not known, but the more is better approach for weight reduction, weight maintenance and overall health should apply. Again, most kids who exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, can usually start the fat burning process provided they are not overeating.
.Encourage EXERCISE. Thirty to forty five minutes per day of any activity will work. Walking, dancing, bike riding, treadmill, light weight lifting, walking in the mall, exercise videos, dance videos, going to the park, trampoline jumping, swimming, karate, and roller blading are great exercises for weight reduction and muscle firming. For the very obese child, swimming is the least stressful exercise on the joints. Get your doctors approval before any strenuous exercise program.
Encourage Healthy EATING. Healthy eating is eating foods that are full of needed nutrients like essential protein, essential fats, and vitamins and minerals, and can be quickly burned for energy. Examples of healthy foods are: whole fruit (not juice), vegetables, lean meat, chicken, pork, fish, low fat dairy, eggs, whole grain bread and pasta, nuts, and water. Non essential foods are foods that are eaten for the sake of the flavor like sugar snacks, sugar drinks, candy, cookies, crackers, bagels, white rice, white bread, excess milk, fast foods and processed foods, to name just a few. These foods unfortunately are a main part of most overweight children and teens daily diet. These foods are easily stored as fat, and because they are usually eaten everyday, can and will lead to obesity. To lose weight, most overweight kids should eat about 1500-1800 calories per day and should exercise for at least 30 minutes or more to stimulate fat burning. Your child's doctor can give you an exact calorie requirement or offer a dietician referral if needed, don't be afraid to ask! The Slimkids program was developed to help overweight and obese kids and teens learn healthy eating for weight control and reduction. Check out our site, we really want to help!