Childhood obesity in Georgia is a growing problem (no pun intended)! In fact, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has reported that childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. And our current situation of sheltering in place due to Covid-19 has lead to overeating and putting screen time ahead of physical activity, all of which can affect your child’s health. It’s time to understand the causes and consequences of improper eating and little or no exercise.
Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a complex health issue. It occurs when a child is well above the normal or healthy weight for his or her age and height. The causes of excess weight gain in young people are similar to those in adults, including factors such as a person’s behavior and genetics.
Our nation’s overall increase in obesity also is influenced by a person’s community. Where people live can affect their ability to make healthy choices.
Behaviors that influence excess weight gain include eating high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages, not getting enough physical activity, sedentary activities such as watching television or other screen devices, medication use, and sleep routines.
In contrast, consuming a healthy diet and being physically active can help children grow as well as maintain a healthy weight throughout childhood. Balancing energy or calories consumed from foods and beverages with the calories burned through activity plays a role in preventing excess weight gain. In addition, eating healthy and being physically active also has other health benefits and helps to prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Use these resources to eat well and be active!
A healthy diet follows the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that emphasizes eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, a variety of lean protein foods, and low-fat and fat-free dairy products. It also limits eating foods and beverages with added sugars, solid fats, or sodium. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (Executive Summary) recommends children aged 6 years or older do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Learn more about Healthy Weight—Finding a Balance
Have More Questions about Childhood Obesity in Georgia? Ask Dr. Hari
Need to know more about healthy eating and proper exercise? Ask Dr. Hari of Sun Pediatrics. Establish good and healthy routines for your children. And don’t forget that sleep is important, too. Re-read our articles for tips to get your child to sleep.