Parents: You Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity - Ascension Wisconsin

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Published on August 07, 2017

Parents: You Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity

Obesity By the Numbers

Childhood obesity rates in America have tripled in the last 30 years. Nearly one in three children is overweight or obese in this country. If this growing problem isn’t solved, one-third of all children born after 2000 will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.

How Parents Can Help

The main risk factor for children being overweight is parental weight. This is likely the result of genetic and environmental factors. While parents may not be able to change their genetics, there is plenty they can do at home.

Matthew M. Richlen, MD, a family medicine physician with Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group, says: “The single biggest thing a parent can do to help their children and reduce childhood obesity is be a good role model. Healthy habits are learned and children learn by watching what their parents are doing.”

Along with leading by example, Dr. Richlen recommends the following healthy tips for parents:

  • Limit screen time for your child at home, school and child-care facilities.
  • Check with the child-care center to make sure that healthy snacks and drinks are served, and that there's plenty of physical activity.
  • Offer your child plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit foods high in fat and sugar.
  • Serve your child water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Encourage your child to get physical activity every day. (60 minutes is recommended)

The good news is childhood obesity is preventable. Parents have a key role to play when it comes to ensuring their children have a healthy future. By making just a few lifestyle changes, parents can help build healthy habits for life.

For More Information

For more children's health information, visit our health library.

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Parents: You Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity