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Childhood Obesity

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Childhood Obesity

A report recently appearing in the Globe and Mail raised concern throughout the country. Submitted to Parliament by the Standing Committee on Health, the report stated that 26 percent of Canadians aged 2 to 17 are now overweight or obese-more than double the rate 30 years ago.

A report recently appearing in the Globe and Mail raised concern throughout the country. Submitted to Parliament by the Standing Committee on Health, the report stated that 26 percent of Canadians aged 2 to 17 are now overweight or obese–more than double the rate 30 years ago.

The “Healthy Weight for Healthy Kids” report is far from the first of its kind to show the exponential rise of weight gain among our younger generation. Numerous health experts now predict that today’s children may be the first generation to have poorer health outcomes and a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

We are bombarded by fast-food companies and their witty advertising agencies who know exactly which triggers to pull to persuade children to bite, nibble, chew, glug, and swallow whatever junk foods are thrown their way. But who is ultimately responsible for what our children consume and, just as importantly, how active they are on a daily basis? (See our “Web exclusive” at alive.com for information on how Britain has dealt with the issue of advertising and kids.)

Take Responsibility

Let’s face it, who finally gives in to the screams and tantrums that develop from the “I gotta have it now” attitudes? When was the last time you saw a child paying for groceries? It is the parents’ responsibility for stocking the refrigerator and cabinet shelves. I know it’s often more expedient to give in to the constant nagging in order to buy a few more minutes of “quiet time,” but how long is the roller coaster ride supposed to last; more importantly, what is the end damage that results from constantly riding it?

It is said that there is nothing that compares to the love parents have for their children. Many parents invest more in their children’s financial future than in their own. That is why parents must invest in their children’s future health.

According to the latest research on what today’s eating habits and lack of exercise are creating for the future generation, we may be shortening our children’s lives and stripping them of their ability to experience optimal health in their later years.

The reality is that parents want what is best for their children. However, we live in a complex world full of stress where convenience often offers a quick patch. The problem is that all these patches eventually add up until they become the norm instead of the occasional fix.

Lead by Example

In order to teach our children about healthy foods and regular exercise, we need to set a good example. If we can do it, so can our children. Reinventing healthy yet delicious meal options is not as difficult as people think; it just takes a little planning. The same goes for regular exercise. Get out there and show your children that exercise can actually be fun; studies show that the more positive we are about exercise (activity), the greater our results and the longer we will continue with it–ultimately making it a lifelong habit.

How can parents expect their overweight or obese kids to change if they’re not committed to living a healthy lifestyle themselves? I think kids are a little smarter than that–don’t you?

Obesity may Start in the Womb

According to researchers from Harvard Medical School, what is deemed as “healthy weight gain” during pregnancy may actually put future generations at risk for becoming overweight and obese.

The study, which looked at 1,044 mothers and their three-year-old children, found that women who gained a “healthy amount of weight” (25 to 35 lb/11 to 13 kg) during their pregnancy had children with a four times greater risk of being overweight by age three, compared to children from mothers who gained less than the advised amount.

The researchers concluded that new healthy weight gain recommendations need to be implemented in this era of epidemic obesity.

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