Childhood Obesity – It’s Complicated

“Obesity Action Coalition, how may I help you?” “Yes, I need to know if you offer information on childhood obesity. My child is overweight and I don’t’ know what to do.”

It’s not uncommon on a daily basis for the OAC to receive dozens of calls and hundreds of emails regarding the topic of obesity; however, once in a while, we do receive calls from someone wanting more information on childhood obesity – more specifically what they can do for their child.

Childhood obesity is a topic that is close to my heart. As a kid, with a European heritage, everything in our home was based around food. Birthdays, anniversaries and more frequently Sunday dinners all played host for a feast. The problem, looking back now, is that the feast was not always the healthiest (lots of pastas, desserts, etc.) and my lack of physical activity also contributed heavily to my obesity as a child. Thinking back, I can recall more times than I’d like where I was either picked last for a football game at school or someone would make a comment about my weight. As a kid, I really didn’t know what to do about this – it hurt. And, I am sure it still hurts kids today when they’re teased, picked last or not picked at all.

I am not a healthcare professional by any means, but I’ve had the pleasure of working in the field of obesity for quite some time now. Battling adult obesity is difficult; however, I sometimes think battling childhood obesity is even more difficult. Children don’t always know what the “best food choice is.” A lot of times what looks healthy can be the exact opposite. They don’t know how much “cardio they need each week” or why nutrition labels are “important to read.” They’re just being kids – enjoying life. I think as adults that we sometimes forget this. As adults, we tend to battle weight very methodically. We count calories, we measure out our food portions, we read food labels, etc. Children don’t battle weight the same way and we must keep this in mind when dealing with childhood obesity.

The OAC provides an excellent resource, titled “Kid’s Corner,” which can be found in each issue of the OAC’s publication Your Weight Matters Magazine. The latest “Kid’s Corner” focuses on springtime and getting outside and increasing physical activity. The “Kid’s Corner” is designed specifically for parents or caregivers to use directly with their children. From fun things to do outside to healthy lunch recipes, the “Kid’s Corner” combats obesity “thinking like a kid.”

Think about it…


PS: If you have a topic that you’d like to see covered in the “Kid’s Corner,” please share it in a below comment.

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