Childhood obesity is a serious medical problem that affects children all over the world, but particularly in North America. While the problem has been around for decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says American children and adolescents have witnessed a significant increase in weight gain since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young school-aged children have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic. A study published in September 2021 found that the percentage of obese children and adolescents rose to 22% from 19% before the pandemic. The CDC examined the BMI of study subjects between March 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Alyson Goodman of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Promotion CDC Health, described the results as “substantial and alarming.”
Being less physically active, being overweight, and eating the wrong foods can lead children down the path to problems that were once considered only conditions of adulthood, including high blood pressure, diabetes and blood pressure. hypercholesterolemia, suggests the Mayo Clinic. To turn the tide, parents, guardians and educators can strive to help children become more physically fit. Here are a few ways to do it.
Sports, games, competitions and other activities can keep children moving for an hour or more several days a week. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that only 25% of children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Emphasize a fun activity with an emphasis on movement that produces shortness of breath, body heat, and sweating. These are indicators that the heart rate is really pumping.
Make exercise something that children can look forward to. Reward a job well done on a test with extra time biking with friends or a hike in a scenic national park. Children will begin to associate exercise and fun.
Children who eat a variety of foods are more likely to get the nutrients the body needs, according to Nemours Kids Health. These healthy foods should include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, with an emphasis on vegetables.
Children may be inclined to be entertained by heading to the TV, cell phone or tablet first, especially after more than a year of being indoors. But parents can make a concerted effort to limit children’s screen time in favor of more physically difficult activities.
Teaching healthy eating habits
A Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that 61% of respondents aged 18 and over reported a median weight gain of 15 pounds during the pandemic. Teach children that weight loss is accomplished when more calories are burned than they eat. Pay attention to portion sizes and discuss how drinks like fruit juice can be sneaky sources of extra calories.
Children may need a little extra help getting back into shape, especially if they have gained weight during the pandemic. Teaching healthy habits now can help children enjoy healthy futures.