A long with the rise in childhood obesity, there has been an increase in the incidence and prevalence of medical conditions in children and adolescents that had been rare in the past.
Pediatricians and childhood obesity researchers are reporting more frequent cases of obesity-related diseases such as Type II diabetes, asthma, and hypertension that once were considered adult conditions.
The American Obesity Association suggests the signs that may help you determine if your child has or is at risk for childhood obesity, such as:
• Family history of obesity.
• Family history of obesity-related health risks such as early cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure levels, Type II diabetes.
• Family history of cigarette smoking and sedentary behaviors.
Signs in the child of obesity-related health risks from a pediatrician’s evaluation includes:
• Cardiac Risk Factors. Studies of children with obesity show higher than average blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac output when compared to children without obesity.
• Type II Diabetes Risk Factors. This involves glucose intolerance and insulin levels that are higher than average.
• Orthopedic Problems. Some symptoms include weight stress in the joints of the lower limbs.
• Psychological/Psychiatric Issues. Poor self-esteem, negative self-image, depression, and withdrawal from peers have been associated with obesity.
• Patterns of sedentary behavior (such as too much television viewing) and low physical activity levels.
• Smoking initiation. Research studies show that youngsters use smoking as a method of weight control. Parents, pediatricians and schools must work together to discourage smoking as a weight control behavior for three main reasons: a) smoking is not likely to be successful in controlling weight b) smoking is itself harmful, and c) smoking is associated with a decrease in sound nutrition and physical activity patterns.
Kids, like adults, can medicate life’s stress and difficulties with food. Food serves to temporarily numb out problems or bad feelings and provides immediate gratification. Food becomes a friend who never leaves and offers satisfaction.
If family stress is contributing to your child’s overeating, per Mintle,* it is then up to the parent(s) to work to eliminate, reduce or resolve that stress and the child should be taught that food is not to be used for coping with family problems-a lesson that will carry over into the teen and adult years as well.
*Source: Dr. Linda Mintle in Preventing Childhood Obesity, Christian Counseling Connection (2005).
Next Month – Conclusion
The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer.
Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her at P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.
August 19, 2012 //
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