Richmond, VA (PRWEB) May 29, 2014
Today, 18 percent of children and teens in the United States are obese. In fact, Experient Health wrote in one of its latest posts in its living well Blog series, public health officials have classified childhood obesity as an epidemic.
Experient Health, a Virginia Farm Bureau company, launched the Blog series to help educate its clients and the community on ways to live healthier lives. Living well and working well enables more people to stay healthy, making it a cornerstone of preventative healthcare.
How does being overweight affect a child’s health?
High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, accelerated growth, hip or knee pain, depression, low self-esteem, sleep apnea, and liver and gallbladder problems are seen more frequently by pediatricians in overweight children, Experient Health wrote.
"The longer a child remains overweight, the greater the risk for serious long-term health problems," Experient Health wrote, encouraging parents to have their pediatrician measure their child’s Body Mass Index-for-age to determine whether a child is underweight, at a healthy weight, at risk of being overweight, or is already overweight or obese.
"If your child is diagnosed as overweight or obese, you will need to be supportive," Experient Health wrote.
That support comes in a variety of ways, including providing emotional support, teaching healthy habits, encouraging healthy eating and physical activity, and "modeling healthy eating and exercise in your own life."
"A growing child’s nutritional needs differ from those of adults," Experient Health wrote. "Too few calories or restricting the wrong foods can interfere with proper growth. Therefore, do not put your child on a weight-loss diet unless recommended to by your health care provider. Under professional guidance, setting realistic weight loss goals will help to avoid discouraging your child. Help him or her focus on small, gradual changes, which will also help build healthy habits that can last a lifetime."
"Healthy eating and regular physical activity are both the prevention and the “cure” for overweight children," Experient Health wrote. "Prevention is easier and more effective when parents start early, so promote healthy eating and exercise habits at an early age, incorporate them into your family and reinforce them as your child grows."