Obese preschoolers? There are a half-million of them in the U.S.
When I read this story today, I nearly fell off my chair: One in five 4 year olds are obese. OBESE! That's incredible to me considering that children are the active ones, right? They run around, they jump, they climb, they play, right?
But the study of 8,500 kids born in 2001 shows that more and more kids are not nearly as active. "The numbers have been creeping up,'' Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician with All Children's Hospital and an instructor for the hospital's Fit4AllKids Weight Management and Fitness for Families program, said Tuesday. "That's the scary part."
Indeed, obesity in preschoolers, like that in adolescents, teens and adults, has become a problem. In fact, Krieger said, the hospital is in the process of developing a PRESCHOOL weight management program that will be offered in the next year or so.
"We are starting to develop programs for younger and younger children and going further and further back in the life cycle" to catch them before the problem gets out of hand, she said. That's especially important if ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease run in the family.
Krieger offers two quick tips that will help you and your kids out in the long run:
-- Add good food to your child's diet. "Instead of restricting food, try to get your child to eat better,'' she said. For example, add fruits and vegetables to meals, instead of just taking away the potato chips.
-- Be active as a family. "Parents definitely have to be the role models," Krieger said. Parents shouldn't just tell their kids to go outside and play. Instead, they should go outside and toss a baseball or a Frisbee, ride a bike or play a game of tag WITH the kids.
In short, we have to get off our butts and get moving before our kids pick up our bad habits. It's up to parents to make the first move for the health of their kids.
-- Sherry Robinson