With summer winding down, so might our activity levels. Summer gives us a lot of opportunity to be outside moving our bodies, but as those days get shorter and the temperatures drop, so might our motivation to get our families outside and moving.
Momentum Chiropractic is focused on the holistic wellness of the entire family. We view prevention as key to avoiding future problems. Obesity is a long-term (chronic) disease. It affects increasing numbers of children, teens, and adults. Obesity rates among children in the U.S. have doubled since 1980. They have tripled for teens. About 19 out of 100 children ages 2 to 19 are obese according to medical standards. In turn, more than 35 out of 100 adults are obese. If we work to get ahead to a health crisis when kids are small, we could be essentially eliminating debilitating health concerns in the future.
Healthcare providers are seeing more of these obesity-related problems in children and teens:
- Type 2 diabetes starting at a younger age
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Obesity-related depression and social isolation
The longer a person is obese, the more he or she is at risk for problems. Many chronic diseases are linked with obesity. Obesity may be hard to treat. That’s why prevention is very important, and developing healthy habits can shift our mindset early on.
Preventing obesity in children is vital. Childhood obesity is more likely to last into adulthood, and an obese person has a high risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Young people can become obese from poor eating habits and lack of physical activity. Genes can also affect a child’s weight. Below are some tips to help prevent obesity in children and teens:
- Don’t just focus on a child’s weight. Work to change family eating habits and activity levels over time.
- Be a role model! This is crucial for long-term success. Parents who eat healthy foods and do physical activity set an example. A child is more likely to do the same.
- Encourage physical activity. A child should have 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. More than 60 minutes of activity may help with weight loss and keeping a healthy weight. This can be something the whole family participates in.
- Reduce screen time. Limit time in front of the TV and computer to less than 1 to 2 hours a day. This can be challenging, but make small changes with the interest of health in mind.
- Encourage children to eat only when hungry. Also, slow down the pace when eating.
- Keep the fridge and pantry stocked with healthy foods and drinks. These include fat-free or low-fat milk, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Don’t buy soft drinks or snacks that are high in sugar and fat.
- Encourage your child to drink water instead of drinks with added sugar. These include soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juice drinks. Most children don’t deplete electrolytes with their level of activity. Rehydrating with water (even add some lemon in there) is often enough. The dentist will thank you too!
The staff and family at Momentum Chiropractic is grateful to be a part of your journey to wellness. If you are curious about taking a deeper dive in your personal health, please reach out!