by John Douthitt
As seen in the Odessa American “Medical Matters” at:
The latest studies from the Center for Disease Control regarding obesity in the United States are scary to say the least, and the future projections only show this epidemic to be getting worse. Unfortunately, these latest studies aren’t just regarding the adult population. The childhood obesity rates are just as dire. Below are some of the CDC’s childhood obesity facts.
- Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
- The percentage of children aged six to 11 years in the United States who were obese increased from seven percent in 1980 to nearly 20 percent in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years who were obese increased from five percent to 18 percent over the same period.
- Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance,” too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. This is affected by various genetic, behavioral and environmental factors.
The various negative effects of obesity on health and well-being include:
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- bone and joint issues
- sleep apnea
So, what is the quickest and easiest way to combat this growing problem? Follow the following recommendations and the trends listed above will be reversed.
Children today have many more opportunities to develop sedentary habits than in year past. Computers, computer games and hundreds of television channels are all things children have access to now. When many of us were children, the first thing on our minds when we got home from school was to go outside and play. Unfortunately, today we are unable to turn our children loose outside like parents could before. So what do we do to ensure our children adopt healthy habits?
Healthy Lifestyle as a Family
Adopting a healthy lifestyle as a family is key to improving our overall health. Children will follow their parent’s lead … so incorporating healthy family outings is the first and easiest step. Instead of spending an evening in front of the television, head to the nearest park and play catch, shoot baskets, go for a walk or rediscover the joy of riding a bike.
Preparing healthy meals and avoiding the fast food drive-through is also extremely important. Our society of convenience has created a dietary disaster. But learning a few, easy recipes to prepare at home will create healthy eating habits.
These are just two easy steps that could have a profound effect, not only on our lives as adults, but also on our children. Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases. A healthy lifestyle can pay a lifetime of dividends.
John Douthitt is general manager of Mission Fitness. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of North Texas and has over 25 years of health club and fitness industry experience.