Childhood Obesity and Prevention Methods
Childhood obesity is a prominent problem in Washoe County. According to Kelli Seals, who is part of the Washoe County District Health Department said, “about 34% of our school-aged children are overweight or obese” (Potter 2011). There are many ways that obesity among these children could be reduced and prevented. With better diets, more exercise, and the help of surrounding adults, these children’s lives could be completely different.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates among children and adolescents have quadrupled since the 1980’s. When it comes to childhood obesity, Nevada ranks the 16th highest state in the nation (Ciammachill 2015). Children who are obese are more at risk for many health complications. Some short term complications include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and bone aches. Long term effects include an increased risk of stroke, cancer, and heart disease (Ciammachill 2015). It is important that we understand these health complications and make sure that we are able to help these children to prevent obesity.
There are several ways to help prevent obesity. It is essential that to know how to balance the child’s calorie intake with the calories used in physical activity and growth (American Heart Association 2015). It is recommended that children and teens are active for at least 60 minutes a day (American Heart Association 2015). Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include but are not limited to: fast-pace walking, jumping rope, dancing, swimming, playing sports, and playing tag (American Heart Association 2015). Help the child develop healthy habits by preparing healthy meals and buying healthy snacks. Some ways to turn meals into healthy meals include adding more vegetables and fruits, using low-fat or non-fat dairy products, portioning, limiting sugar-filled food and drinks, and encouraging them to drink a lot of water (American Heart Association 2015).
Dr. Shane with Community Health Alliance has implemented a program with intentions of preventing childhood obesity. The 5210 program encourages families to eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables, have 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, have 1 hour or more of physical activity, and drink 0 sugary drinks every day. There is a class that is taught to families at the Wells location, in both English and Spanish, to educate them on ways to stay healthy and active.
Ciammachilli, Esther. “Nevada 16th Among States With High Childhood Obesity Rates.” KUNR, 20 Apr. 2015, kunr.org/post/nevada-16th-among-states-high-childhood-obesity-rates#stream/0.
Potter, John. “Childhood Obesity in Washoe County: An Epidemic.” Home – KTVN Channel 2 – Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video, 5 July 2011, www.ktvn.com/story/15028870/childhood-obesity-in-washoe-county-an-epidemic.
“Preventing Childhood Obesity: Tips for Parents and Caretakers.” American Heart Association, 27 Aug. 2015, www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Preventing-Childhood-Obesity-Tips-for-Parents-and-Caretakers_UCM_456118_Article.jsp#.WtTA302Wzjo