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Health Information Flyer Children Obesity in the United States
The topic for the health information flyer children obesity in the United States was chosen because it is one of the acutest health issues in the United States that is gaining an epidemic status. This health information flyer is addressed to parents who do not pay sufficient attention to this health issue or do not comprehend the depth of the existing problem.
This health information flyer is developed to draw the attention of parents of children aged 2-14 to the topic of childhood obesity, the causes of the disease, and recommendations on the most simple steps that parents can take to prevent the occurrence of overweight or obesity among children.
It is necessary to underline that the childhood obesity problem in the United States has gained such a speed that it cannot be ignored. More than 30 percent of school-age children and approximately 15 percent of 2-5-year-olds are diagnosed with overweight or obesity in the United States. The figures indicate that childhood obesity in the U.S. has almost tripled during the past thirty years. It raises the concern of the emotional and physical health of future generations.
Children obesity is a medical condition indicating the excess body fat accumulated to the level when it can have a negative influence on children's health and wellbeing. BMI (Body Mass Index) is widely used to diagnose children obesity. The charts given below are the most suitable for the childhood obesity diagnosis for children aged 2 years and older.
Childhood obesity has a negative effect in the long run on children's health because it causes such life-threatening diseases as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, sleep problems, and other disorders such as liver disease, early puberty, skin infections, asthma, and others.
Two main groups of childhood obesity causes are divided into unmodifiable and modifiable. Genes and hereditary predisposition are unmodifiable causes of obesity. However, parents should understand that even if their children have more chances to be obese, they should pay even more attention to the prevention of the disease. Being in the risk group means making additional efforts rather than the fact that the child will be obese anyway because they have such genes. Parents should make every effort, including change of the way of thinking, a way of life, and eating habits for the benefit of the child, their health, and future.
Nutrition and environmental factors are considered modifiable causes of childhood obesity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these include:
Poor diet with the prevalence of half-ready products, food with high sugar and fat content (high-energy-dense foods), snacking;
Low physical activity at school and at home in particular spending more than 2 hours in front of the TV set and computer, no safe place for playing outdoors in some communities, and lack of daily physical activity at school;
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Availability of calorie-rich food and drinks to children, in particular fast food, the presence of sugary drinks and high-energy-dense foods on the school campus, absence of salad bars;
Lack of access to healthy food;
Increased portion sizes, in particular in fast food restaurants, causes the misunderstanding of the fact that children overeat;
Lack of breastfeeding support;
Free and aggressive advertising of unhealthy foods addressing children and their food choices.
To prevent the development of obesity among children, parents should follow the next simple and easily performed recommendations from the American Academy of Family Physicians:
- Change eating habits, which means teaching children to eat slowly and together with all members of the family instead of sitting in front of the TV set or computer;
- Develop a plan of meals and choose the food more consciously, that is, avoid fast and junk food, food with high sugar content; offer the children to eat less fatty food; diversify their diet with vegetables and fruit;
- Control the size of the portion that the child eats, try to keep consumption-energy spending balance, which means that any additional consumption of calories should be balanced with additional time for physical activity;
- Increase physical activity, which means not only attending gyms or going in for sports but choosing to walk instead of using a car, suggesting a child a brisk walk, biking or roller-skating together with family or with their friends;
- Keep the calorie needs of children in mind, as well as the energy In-Out balance;
- Keep track of the body mass index not only of the children, but your own one because parents set the example of healthy lifestyle choices and build a healthy atmosphere at home;
- Limit the time the child spends in front of the TV set or computer to no more than 2 hours per day;
- Control the list of meals that children eat at school; avoid giving snacks and sugar drinks;
- Do not transform food into a reward tool;
- Limit the number of visits to fast food restaurants; try not to buy half-ready food;
Change the way of preparing food: boiling instead of frying products; prefer vegetables and fruit in the daily ration.
It is important to remember that obesity is a disease that can be diagnosed easier and faster than other diseases, but it is one of the most difficult diseases to treat.
Dear parents! Do not be careless and indifferent to the health and happiness of your own children!