debunking childhood obesity myths
Kohl’s Cares and Dayton Children’s give tips
We’ve all heard the myths – “My son will grow into his weight,” “Food is how we show love in our family, “With my daughter - there is just more to love” – however weight problems in childhood should not be ignored. Children who are overweight or obese have an increased risk to develop serious health conditions such as sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and bone and joint problems. These children are also more likely have chronic health conditions in adulthood.
“Myths can serve as excuses for not taking the actions needed to deal with a serious problem,” says Dr. Gregory Ramey, Ph.D, executive director of the Dayton Children’s Hospital Center for Pediatric Mental Health Resources. “Challenge the myths that you hear – or may tell yourself – to get ahead of childhood weight problems.”
bust the myths
“It’s just baby fat – my daughter will lose weight as she grows.”
Many kids who are overweight as toddlers or as they enter school are still overweight as they become teenagers. Most kids do not outgrow the problem. It’s important to check with your doctor to find out if your child’s weight is appropriate for his or her height and age – even as a toddler.
“My overweight child will ‘grow into’ his weight.”
Gaining weight is an important part of the growth process. However, gaining weight faster than growth in height is a serious concern. Children need to have good eating habits and an active lifestyle at all ages. Routine growth spurts will not reverse weight problems.
“In our family, we are just big-boned.”
Being overweight has nothing to do with bones. It is caused by having too much body fat. A lot of that body fat ends up around the waistline, where there are no bones. Having too much body fat around the waist is what leads to diabetes and liver disease.
Regardless of the reasons why a child may be overweight or obese, addressing weight challenges and developing healthy habits early is important to prevent weight-related disease. If you are concerned about your child’s weight, talk with your family physician. Don’t buy-in to the myths that will only perpetuate the problem.
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