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Q: How can I guard my child against obesity?

Posted August 14, 2013 in Advice Column, Grimes

A: During the last couple of decades, obesity has slowly developed into an epidemic. More children and teens are overweight or obese than ever before. In response to the increasing number of obese adults, we need to begin focusing on creating healthy lifestyles in our children.

Exercise has many benefits. It helps burn calories that have been consumed through our diet. If these calories are not burned then they will eventually be stored in the body as fat. Exercise will reduce stress leading to a better frame of mind resulting in improved self esteem and self confidence. Exercise will also help reduce our blood sugar. This is very important as obesity is one of the major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also reduced by exercise. Bone and muscle strength is improved as is over-all endurance.

Children 2 years of age and older need to exercise at least a total of 60 minutes every day. Limiting the amount of screen time is very important.  This includes time spent watching TV, playing video games, sitting in front of the computer or listening to an iPod. Most experts suggest limiting a child’s total screen time to no more than one to two hours per day.

We as parents need to begin teaching our children good habits by being good role models.

Information provided by Dr. Dennis Bussey, D.O., Unity Point Grimes, 101 S.E. Destination Drive, 986-4524.

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