Childhood Obesity

We have all heard it before. Obesity in our country has skyrocketed over the last 30 years. I hear it on a regular basis, which is why I am making children and families a priority in what I do. – Gabrielle Hungate

 

fast food

W e watch it on the news, we read it in magazines. How often do we really pay attention to these facts? Do we try to implement the facts that we are reading on a daily basis? Per the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more then tripled in the last 30 years. In 2008, more then 1/3 of American children are either overweight or obese. Children and adolescents are at a much greater risk for diabetes, socialization issues, sleep apnea , bone and joint issues, just to name a few.

There is a growing amount of controversy surrounding this issue. How do we decide who is to blame for this? Where are the answers? Well, the answer to this question is not black and white. The truth is, there are a multiple amount of issues contributing to this epidemic.

 

The CDC
has a requirement that any school participating in the National Lunch Program must have a wellness policy that is clearly posted and conveyed to the parents. I realize some schools are very active in this process and others are not. Please check out the Center for Disease control website to read more on this policy.

 

Middle Schools And High Schools are trying to make a valiant effort in providing more activity and better nutrition. Many are not. Whether it’s budget constraints, school policy or they do not want to make the change, a vast majority of schools in the United States are still incredibly unhealthy. The choice for parents in this situation is whether or not to spend the extra money to make a healthy lunch for their child. In many cases this simply comes down to finances. It is often thought that healthy food is much too expensive. If budgeted correctly, healthy food can be very affordable.

 

Sedentary Lifestyle that many children lead, is another huge contributor to the burst in childhood obesity rates. Children now spend much of their time watching television, playing video games and researching on the internet. It is a known fact that technology does provide a benefit and is becoming the way of the world. Given this fact, it should not take the place of physical activity.

Physical activity for a child can be doing chores, playing outside, riding their bike or even just walking with their friends. The social and psychological issues that can develop over time in living this sedentary lifestyle can then lead to depression, weight gain and an array of health problems. As difficult as it is to say no to a child, this is the best combat against obesity. Set aside time  every week to do things as a family that are active, such as riding bikes, going to the beach, going to the park or taking a quick jog. Not only are you exercising together, you are gaining wonderful family time and memories for a lifetime.

 

There are some factors with childhood obesity that we can control and others that are not always within our power to change. – Gabrielle Hungate

 

Change what you can that is within your reach. It is not a surprise if I mention that fast food has become a problem in our western culture. Fast food has reached even some of the most remote parts of the world.

Before nutrition really started to be a prominent part of our society, we all have memories of our fast food excursions, myself included. My family would have a night a week that was burger night. It was the highlight of my day. This food is incredibly addictive. We are now as a society becoming more savvy. Fast food should no longer be part of our children’s lifestyle. In replace of  food high in saturated fat, we should be finding an incredibly healthy treat that they enjoy. Children are much more receptive than many of us give them credit for.

There is not one specific issue contributing to this obesity outbreak. We could be doing nothing but giving our children fruits, vegetables, grains and beans, but if they are eating horrible at school and watching television most of the day, there will be an issue. If we all start monitoring food intake, having mandatory active family time and packing an abundance of fruits and vegetables in the lunches, we would start to see this trend on the downfall.

I applaud everyone that takes the time to research the facts and change the way their child thinks. It is a difficult task  to go against the grain and say no to things that are often in high demand. Keep in mind, they will be healthier and happier in the long run for it.

 

Getting healthier and happier as a family is crucial. Whether for weight loss, relearning how to eat properly or getting tips on family exercises, contact a professional such a myself today! Be well my friends!

Contact Me

Gabrielle Hungate

Holistic Nutritionist

Richmond, VA

619-971-3558