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Tackling childhood obesity.

Obesity is a growing problem worldwide.  We see it in our community, our schools, and too often in our own homes.  It is not enough to simply know that healthy eating and routine exercise can improve weight.  Here we will provide some added tips and other resources that may help.

There are many barriers to eating healthy and getting routine exercise.  First of all, get educated about what healthy nutrition really is and what are appropriate portion sizes.  The amount of what we eat is just as important as what we eat.  Learn what activities can provide adequate exercise and how often activity should occur.  Just because swimming is great for exercise, doesn’t mean your child has access to a pool or even enjoys it.   Find an activity that your child can do and enjoy.

Next, find small areas that can be improved, such as switching one snack to a healthier option or add a short activity after dinner.  Start with small changes that you know can be accomplished.  Be careful setting goals that are not realistic because that leads to disappointment and your child may become resistant to trying or setting new goals.

Weight loss is not the main goal for children.  Surprised?  Stopping excessive weight gain is the primary goal.  Children need adequate nutrition to grow and develop properly.  Restrictive diets are not necessary or even recommended.

Utilize the resources available:

–           Check out your local YMCA or community recreation center for available programs

–          Talk to a nutritionist

–          Find out what programs are available through the school your child attends

Websites:

www.cdc.gov/obesity/resources.html

www.aap.org/obesity

www.childobesity.com

www.shapingamericasyouth.org/

http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov/

www.mypyramid.gov/kids

If you are concerned about your child’s weight, see your pediatrician for evaluation that may include laboratory testing to rule out contributing factors or complications related to obesity.

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