Did you know that nearly one out of every five kids is considered obese by national standards? Seeing how companies like McDonald’s, General Mills and other sugar-based manufacturers target children in advertising, I bet not many of you are surprised. While many parents may not believe that childhood obesity is a problem, it’s more than just putting on a few pounds and not fitting into clothes. The complications could be far more dire.
Problems for Kids That Come From Obesity
Nearly 13 million children in the United States are considered to be obese. Being overweight affects more than just the outward appearance. The same problems that adults develop from being obese can also be experienced by children. Young people may be more resilient to ailments, but they can still be affected by the exact same complications.
High Blood Pressure
You don’t have to be over the age of 30 to experience high blood pressure. Children are often diagnosed with this condition, and guess what one of the major conditions is to the problem? That’s right…childhood obesity. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases the risks for a variety of ailments including heart disease and stroke. Can you imagine your 12-year old having a heart attack? According to studies, heart disease can happen in children as young as 8-years old.
Although there are a number of components that affect high blood pressure, you shouldn’t allow obesity to be one of the them. I saw a vast increase simply because I used to drive on I-25 and I-225 every day and it stressed me out quite a bit.
The heart isn’t the only part that can be affected by childhood obesity. Cardiovascular diseases are also more common in obese children. There is a profound risk for accelerated atherosclerosis by kids who are extremely overweight. Essentially, children can develop the same diseases and conditions that are experienced by those over the age of 50.
The heart is like any other muscle. The more it is worked, the stronger it becomes. Regular physical activity that will increase the rate at which it beats is very beneficial. While I don’t mind kids sitting on the couch and playing games, there needs to be a physical balance. This is one of the reasons why I am a strong proponent of the Xbox Kinect.
According to the UKs Telegraph website, a three-year old obese girl was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2015. This story was also featured on a myriad of news services spanning the globe from CBS to the Guardian. I don’t really count Fox “News” as news in most cases, but this time they had the facts right as well. Type 2 diabetes is when the human body is unable to produce natural insulin to deal with the glucose levels in the blood stream. One of the major contributors to this condition is, you guessed it, obesity.
Obese people have seriously shortened lifespans due to the various conditions that come with being extremely overweight. According to studies, young adults can have their lifespan reduced by up to 20 years.
I’not one who believes in shaming a person’s body in anyway. I know a lot of people who are seemingly happy while being overweight. However, having pride in yourself shouldn’t come with a form of suicide. In reality, that is what obesity promotes: a way to end yourself sooner. That’s one of the motivators behind why I put effort into losing my weight.
Joint and Spine Complications
The longer you walk around carrying excessive weight, the more damage is done to your ligaments and joints. Many obese people are plagued with knee and spine problems – because the skeletal structure wasn’t meant to support the excess baggage. Children who are obese today are more likely to develop these problems later in life.
There are many things that will contribute to spine and joint problems. I know I’ve caused a fair amount of damage to myself because of the way I’ve lived my life. However, kids shouldn’t have the same problems a 40-year old has.
So, obesity is caused by over consumption – usually by foods that are already not the most healthy. This plays into account brain development of the children. The human brain continues to develop until about the age of 20. When your child isn’t eating the right foods to enhance its growth, your child may not live up to his or her mental potential.
Think of it this way, there are more IQ points stored in berries than in a McDouble. This is a figure of speech, obviously, but you get my point.
Be the Parent
As obesity is more common in families that have low income, it demonstrates that cheap foods provide a cheap way of life. It’s difficult for many families to provide enough food for the table when there is no cash available. When you consider the amount of carbs and calories that are in things like a $0.05 bag of ramen, it’s no wonder why obesity is a problem.
As a parent, it’s your job to guide children to make healthier choices. Do it as a family. If you spend a lot of money dining out, plan healthier meals at home. If you don’t make enough money to buy healthier alternatives, you could always set up a small indoor garden to grow your own fruits and veggies year-round. The point I am trying to make is that you need to show the kids a better way to live before it’s too late. Put your foot down and be the adult in the relationship. A child doesn’t have your years of expertise in life, and you need to be responsible for teaching him or her how to live before being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Step in and be the parent that protects your child from diseases that plague the elderly. Kids shouldn’t have to experience the same physical complications 50 years before they’re ready. Do what it takes to quell the onset of childhood obesity and be a silent hero. The development of your child will depend on your decisions to commit to a healthier lifestyle.