A number of studies have came out recently about health issues in overweight kids. One, from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons points out the risk of foot damage. Kid’s feet don’t become developed completely until they are in their teens – for boys this is from 15 to 17 years old and for girls, 14 or 15. If too much weight and stress is on their feet it can lead to foot structure problems such as arches flattening and the growth plate of the heel becoming inflamed.
According to the Journal of the National Medical Association kids, like adults who are obese, may risk more complications from surgery such as breathing problems, airway obstruction and needing more anti-nausea medication.
Earlier this year the Journal of Pediatrics published a study showing that even girls as young as 9 have sometimes developed problems that put them at higher risk for heart disease. This includes higher blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine collected data on the eating habits and activity levels of over 800 adolescents. The behaviors they analyzed were 1) amount of physical activity, 2) number of servings of fruits and vegetables, 3) % of calories from fat and 4) time spent watching televsion.
The results were somewhat shocking! Over half didn’t engage in 60 or more minutes of activity each day, only 12% ate 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables, just 32% got less 30% of calories from fat and around 30% watched more than 2 hours of TV a day. Only 2% did all four healthy things. And in addition, there was some evidence the behavior of the kids was related to the behavior of their parents.
I’m not sure if I really meet all those guidelines either – but I’ve been working on it. I don’t quite get an average of 60 minutes of exercise each day, but I’m working on it. I’m a little short on the fruits and vegetables thing too, but most days I watch less than 2 hours of TV – plus when I watch it is usually while I’m exercising.
I will definitely make sure my behavior is better by the time I’m a parent. One of the best ways to get kids to live a healthy lifestyle is to set a good example as parents.
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