California Study: Are Kids Getting Fatter?
According to the study leader, Corinna Koebnick, a nutritionist and research scientist for Kaiser in Pasadena, “A 10-year-old boy is supposed to weigh around 70 pounds, and an extremely obese 10-year-old weighs 114 pounds. That’s not merely a cosmetic issue. There’s growing evidence that being obese in childhood raises the risk of a host of serious health problems in adulthood, including heart disease and diabetes. These children will likely continue to be extremely obese adults.”
Of the 710,949 children studied over a two-year period, 37% were overweight, 19% were obese and 6% were considered extremely obese. As a physician with a weight management program in my Beverly Hills practice, I worry about the illnesses that these kids are going to experience as an after-affect of their weight. Although the Obama administration has targeted $10 billion over the next ten years to improve school lunches, that’s not going to make the important, immediate changes that can avoid health problems later on for these overweight and obese children.
What can you do to prevent obesity in your kids or nip it in the bud if it’s already happening?
1. Know your child’s BMI. Body Mass Index is an excellent indicator of obesity. You can ask your pediatrician to measure your child’s BMI at an upcoming appointment or, better yet, Google one of the many free online calculators and you’ll know immediately.
2. Stop buying sugary beverages—even OJ has loads of sugar but at least it’s not loaded with the chemicals in Pepsi, Coke and other drinks. Plain sparkling water is an enjoyable alternative if you can get your kids interested in it. Sparkling water with ice and a small amount of pure juice for flavor is an excellent alternative to sugary beverages. These fruit spritzers are both refreshing and low in calories and refined carbs.
3. Increase your kids’ activities. Too much time spent in front of the computer or the TV will make your kids fat and flabby (and you too!). Make a point to get out daily with your kids, even to walk around the block or throw a Frisbee for 20 minutes. Jump around to some music or go biking together. Being an active family isn’t just about weight management either—it will pay benefits in family harmony, too!
Our patients struggle with weight issues that often began in childhood. They are helped to wellness by our nutritionist, physiologist/trainer and behavior therapist. Please call us if you have concerns about your weight and please, take a close look at your kids today. You’re their best hope for good health!