Coming from a family where childhood obesity is not a foreign topic, the epidemic weighs heavy on my heart. While many parents hope their child will grow out of it, is it worth the risk to hope the problem will correct itself?
Statistics say the chances of an obese child growing up to be a normal size adult is a grim thirty percent, dropping to only twenty percent if the child has an obese parent. With these statistics parents should be running for help, but they are not. Why?
Not only do obese children face a lifetime of possible health issues, the unnecessary mental stress of carrying around excess body fat through the development stages of life can cause serious mental health issues. Childhood obesity is like a form of cancer which eats away at a child’s health, energy, self-confidence and future.
Why I think childhood obesity is the Pink Elephant in the room no one talks about:
1. People don’t want to give children a complex. Children are the most honest people on the planet. Parents may not choose to be honest when talking to their child to protect their self-image, but children do talk about it – and it’s rarely nice.
2. Parents don’t want to rob their children of their childhood. I’m not sure why some people feel that Pop-Tarts and fruit roll-ups are okay when you are a child, if they are not OK to eat as an adult. Healthy food is healthy to eat no matter the age. Childhood is not about what they eat, but how they live – and being healthy will make how they live a lot more fun.
3. Adults give children too many choices. I believe giving children choices is healthy, as it helps them develop and learn how to make decisions. However, I also believe when giving your child the option to eat a donut versus oatmeal, it is very likely they will choose the donut. Parents can’t expect a child to know what is best for them when it comes to a healthy diet.
4. Parents rely on others. If your child gets sick, the parent takes them to a doctor – not their schoolteacher. Parents cannot depend on the schools or government to make their child be healthy. Parents are ultimately responsible, and have the power to make a difference.
25 million children are either overweight or obese
Obesity is the second highest reason for preventable death in America
Obesity in children has increased 3x since the 80s
Obesity in children, ages 6-11, was a mere 6.5% in 1980 but jumped to 19.6% by 2008
70% of obese children already have at least 1 risk factor of having heart disease
85% of all the children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were obese
70% of overweight children will be overweight adults
80% of overweight children will be overweight adults if a parent is overweight too
Children treated for obesity are about 3x more expensive for the health care systemObese children are most likely to grow up as obese youth, and as a result, more prone to joint problems, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, poor self esteem, and several other health, social, and psychological problems
Read my family’s story and get more tips on fighting childhood obesity in your home.