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Q: What are the causes and risks of obesity in children?

Posted August 07, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: Unfortunately, obesity in children is extremely common. Almost one child in five is overweight, according to the CDC. One out of four obese children will likely be obese as adults. As many as 80 percent of obese pre-teens and teens will be obese as adults.

Researchers place much of the blame on fast food and a sedentary childhood. Kids today spend an increasing amount of time indoors watching TV. Schools have cut back or eliminated physical education classes in favor of more academic subjects. Busy families often let nutrition slide, as they rely on fast food meals and junk food snacks.

Although genetics may predispose a person to obesity, the condition largely stems from a combination of poor eating and exercise habits, so both must be addressed. Weight control requires a healthy food relationship. A healthy food relationship means food meets basic nutritional needs and isn’t used to meet other emotional and physical needs.

What to do:
Set realistic goals. Talk with your pediatrician or family doctor about healthy ways for your child to lose weight.
Offer healthy snack alternatives. Keep fresh fruit and raw vegetables on hand instead of chips.
Teach moderation. One cookie is OK — not eight. Don’t order your child a super-sized, fast food meal. It may seem like a bargain, but it can cost your child his or her health. (Part One.)

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, 400 N. Elm St., Jefferson, 515-386-2164.

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