A recent study shows that 37% of Houston’s school aged children are over weight or obese. This number is nearly twice the national average. It had become such a big concern because it can lead to serious health problems. These diseases were once very rare in children but now doctors are diagnosing them more and more because of the obesity epidemic.
The most severe and life threatening complications of being over weight can include:
- Sleep Apnea – When children suddenly stop breathing during sleep
- Liver Disease – Caused by fat accumulation in the liver
Children can also develop problems with their hip and knee joints that can lead to permanent disabilities because being overweight puts too much pressure on their legs. Other chronic disease caused by being overweight include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, gall bladder problems, polycystic ovary disease ( in young women). Many children who are overweight become depressed and have low self-esteem. We think that it is very important for parents to help their children to achieve and maintain a healthy weight to prevent health problems. THE TIME IS NOW.
If you are concerned your child may be overweight, start by making an appointment with Dr. Eisner.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Your child must have a desire and motivation to loose weight
- Help create this desire, by pointing out how this would benefit him/her.
- Praise, Praise, and Praise- Studies have shown that praise is much more effective that criticism in changing behavior.
- Try making a rewards chart: For example, give one star for everyday for making good food choices. If the child receives 10 stars take them to the zoo or to a fun place!
- NO FOOD REWARDS!!!
- Do not let your child go hungry. Achieve this with a high protein diet, by allowing some oils such as salad dressing in their diet, and by markedly decreasing “white foods” (bread, chips, potatoes, tortillas, rice, and cookies).
- Encourage your child to eat foods with as may as different colors as possible, and give (non-food) rewards for high numbers of these.
- Have “Healthy Snacks” available such as, chesses, celery, with low fat salad dressing dip, or fruits such as, apples, grapes, oranges, etc.
- AVOID: FAST FOOD AND SODAS
- Encourage 1-2 hours daily of fun activities which will keep your child active, such as dancing, gymnastics, sports, swimming, and family activities such as biking or walking.
- Limit their television, gaming system, and internet time to less than 1 hour a day (TOTAL)