Waushara County Health News By Waushara County Health Department

 

Childhood Obesity

 

In the past several years, the news has highlighted the growing obesity issue for adults.  Wisconsin itself has the 23rd highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity.  Obesity is more than just being overweight. There are several health issues that occur as a result of the extra weight, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.   

Adults are at risk, but they are not the only ones. The onset of obesity begins earlier than adulthood. Children and adolescents are being affected as well. The State of Obesity revealed that in 2016, 30 percent of adolescents in Wisconsin were either overweight or obese. In 2017, the high school obesity rate was about 14 percent. While obesity in our state appears to be decreasing our adult rates still put us in the top of half of the United States with obesity issues.

There are several steps that can be taken to decrease obesity and prevent it. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a child’s caloric intake should also take into consideration their physical activity and normal growth. Decreasing the amount of food may not be the answer, but changing the types of foods may be helpful. Only a Medical Provider should decide whether or not a child is on a weight loss diet.

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Specific ideas to increase your child’s health include: plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, beans for protein, drinking lots of water, limiting sugar-sweetened beverages, limit amount of sugar and saturated fats, and serve properly portioned meals. See resources such as www.choosemyplate.gov for more information on healthy eating.

Another aspect of balancing weight is physical activity. The CDC also recognizes that physical activity has additional health benefits than just maintaining weight. These include: strengthening their growing bones, decreasing blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and increasing self-esteem.

 

Each one of us has the opportunity to improve our health. Even slow, small changes could impact the health of the children in our community.