Child obesity or the number of overweight children especially in the United States is growing at a very fast and alarming rate. For the most part, children spend a lot less time exercising and much more time sitting in front of the television, video-game console or the computer.
The busy families of today have less time to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals on a regular basis. Families are so busy with different schedules that there is very little time to sit down together to eat as a family. It is just much easier and quicker to grab a burger and some fries on the run! From fast food all the way to electronics, everything these days seems to be quick and easy. That is unfortunately the mindset of many people both young and old in today’s new millennium.
Ever since the 1970’s, the percentage of overweight children and adolescents has more than doubled here in the United States. Today there at least 10% of children ages 2 to 5 years old and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 to 19 that are considered to be overweight.
If you combine the percentage of kids who have child obesity with the percentage of kids who are at risk of becoming overweight, then approximately one out of every three children are affected. That pretty much means that just about one child out of every family in the United States is going to be affected with a weight problem. How will you handle this situation?
How can you tell if your child is overweight? If your child has a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile for his or her age and sex, then your child would be considered overweight. The BMI uses height and weight measurements to estimate the total amount of body fat a person has.
Once you have figured out your child’s BMI, it can be plotted on a BMI chart. There are one of 4 categories that your child may fall into:
• Underweight – BMI below the 5th percentile
• Normal weight – The BMI falls between the 5th and 85th percentiles
• At risk for being overweight – Having a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentiles
• Overweight – BMI at or above the 95th percentile
The BMI is not always perfect for measuring body fat, and there are even instances where the BMI may be misleading. Read here why.
If you happen to be worried that your child or teenager may be overweight, it would be best to make an appointment with your child’s physician. If you child is indeed overweight, then you doctor may ask you about the eating and activity habits of your child and may make some suggestions on how to achieve some positive changes.
Your doctor may decide to screen for some medical conditions that are associated with obesity. Depending upon your child’s BMI, health and age, your physician may refer you to a registered dietician for some additional advice. For some overweight children, your physician may recommend a comprehensive weight management program.