New Research Suggests Childhood Obesity Starts at Home
Many parents believe that their children are in a healthy weight range. But according to new research, these parents’ perceptions are wrong — perhaps dangerously so.
Earlier this fall, a large national study was published in the journal Childhood Obesity, which studied the perception of parents with obese and overweight children. According to the study, 78% of parents who had an obese child perceived their child to be the right weight. In 1994, 71% fewer parents felt their children were at the right weight, and correctly sized up the state of their child’s health at a glance.
So what does this shift mean? It’s important to note because it majorly influences whether or not healthy behaviors are being fostered in the home.
It is also important to recognize that this shift in perception also coincides with a dramatic increase in child obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), approximately 17% of children and adolescents between the ages of two and 19 are obese. This is an increase of 5% since 1974.
This overall shift in both child obesity rates and parents’ perception of childhood obesity suggests that a new norm is taking hold in America, in both household habits and weight. People are growing larger, and it is often due to large portions, large amounts of refined carbohydrates, sugars, and fats, and a lack of exercise.
Generally speaking, children should get 60 minutes or more of exercise per day, yet only 25% of all children in the U.S. get the exercise needed.
Increased childhood obesity rates doesn’t only mean a higher likelihood of adulthood obesity — it beckons a myriad of health risks.
In the past, high blood pressure was only a concern for adults. But recently, researchers at the Nemours Foundation found that one in 25 teenagers has high blood pressure.
One of the biggest risk factors for children developing elevated blood pressure levels is excessive internet use.
A study at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital found that teens who spend at least 14 hours a week on the internet tended to have higher blood pressure levels.
This suggests that home habits are becoming more sedentary. These are the three-quarters of children who get less than 60 minutes of exercise per day.
If parents want to change the fate of their child’s health and future, change needs to start at home.
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