What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 40

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Gina Kenny

One of the reasons that I think childhood obesity is on the rise is that children, for the most part, do not bike or walk to school anymore. When I was a child, almost everyone walked or rode to school. My son is in kindergarten this year. We have gone by bike almost every morning, with the exception of when it was raining. The majority of students arrive by car with a good chunk arriving by bus as well (parents can pay to have their kids bused, if they do not live in the outlying area or near a hazard that prevents walking/biking). I live in Orland Park, a suburb of Chicago, but my community is definitely not unique. In 2001, only 16 percent of kids biked or walked to school as opposed to 42 percent in 1969, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Having children ride or walk to school is a way that children would be incorporating physical activity into their day. We generally spend about 30 minutes a day on the bike. When we ride, we are also a lot more likely to stop at one of the area parks on our way home, which then gives my son even more physical activity. Through my work with the League of Illinois Bicyclists, I wrote an article on biking to school last fall, in honor of International Walk to School Day. Feel free to quote the article as well or contact me for any additional information.

Gina Kenny, Program Manager, League of Illinois Bicyclists

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 38

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Dr. Larry McCleary

Childhood obesity is on the rise because of poor dietary choices … an easy target is too much fructose/sugar. Increases appetite and causes elevated levels of the fat-storage hormone insulin.

What to do: Nutrition needs to become a focus of the family at home. Have parents talk to kids about making good food choices. The parents need to know what these food choices are to help educate the kids. So, it is a vicious cycle.

Incorporate brain healthy fats such as omega-3s and the superstar, coconut oil into the diet. They will help fill your child up and keep blood sugar levels from rising, then crashing and making them hungry.

Dr. Larry McCleary, retired Acting Chief of Neurosurgery at Denver Children’s Hospital and author of Feed Your Brain Lose Your Belly

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 37

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Nicki Klinkhamer

Hello, I run a foundation for overweight kids, ages 8-14 who are in 85th percentile and above. This morning alone, in my freelance work, I heard a Detecitve for Internet Crimes involving children say, over and over. “Parents YOU are responsible for your children.”

The same goes for obesity. Parents are responsible for the education or proper nutrition, the grocery shopping, ensuring breakfast is eaten, lunch is as healthy as possible, and that dinner is well-balanced. Kids cannot do this on their own. We can teach them how to make better nutritional decisions and educate them on proper fitness and nutrition habits, but ultimately the parents are responsible for the kids.

That being said, I still challenge my staff to take the next steps. We have tons of parents who do not see the importance of proper nutrition or have the education to understand. Therefore, we need to teach the children how to make those decisions on their own. Very hard to do!

Lastly, in a parent group just yesterday, we had a divorced mom, who’s ex husband is a health nut but for some reason feeds his daughter terrible foods when she is there – brownies, cookies, pizza. She has enrolled her daughter in our 8 week program and would like his assistance in helping, not hindering. As the moms in the group heard this astonishing news, their advice “pack the food for her and send it with her. That way, she at least has options.” The parents in the group were adamant and concerned. “She is your daughter. You need to protect her and help her make the right decisions.” It was great work and thinking as a group!

Nicki Klinkhamer, Executive Director, ProActive Kids Foundation

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 36

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Juliette Aiyana

We live in a fast-paced world where parents work long hours just to get by. One where they don’t have time to cook dinner each evening or prepare lunches for the next day, and where we make quick decisions and eat fast-food (purchased or cooked at home). Our kids are running the race with us adults; from mornings rushing to school and skipping breakfast or gulping down sugary cereal, then off to school where most kids eat school lunch devoid of any substantive nutritional value, then on to after-school activities, home for homework, hurry up and eat, watch TV (on an average of 3 to 4 hours per day and sometimes at the same time as eating), and go bed (late, because we have to watch our favorite show) then start all over again the next day.

With all of this hurry and scurry, we don’t think that have time to prepare, no less think about preparing, healthful foods nor to find time for physical activity. We grab on-the-go snacks, “power-up” with quick junk snacks, meal replacement bars, drinks and juices which are high in sugar. We cook microwavable meals marketed toward kids, many of which mislead us that they are “healthy” or “all natural” on the front of the package, however, the ingredient list on the back of the package tells another story.

So we are left with poor eating habits, stress due to running around and lack of nutrition, lack of sleep, and with 3-4 hours of screen time in exchange for physical activity or healthy food prep, and we mindlessly consume 250-500 more calories per day while staring at the T.V.

Cut down on, or remove screen time. Reducing or eliminating screen time cuts down on junk food advertising that is aimed at our children and reduces the calories kids eat in front of the screen. And the time can easily be used to increase physical exercise, prepare foods as a family, and eat together at the family table and talk with each other, laugh and play together, and get to bed a little earlier, all of which reduce stress. By just cutting down on one part of our lifestyle we can potentially add to at least four other areas of our life, a change that will cultivate healthier and happier kids and families.

Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author of Chinese Medicine & Healthy Weight Management An Evidence-Based Integrated Approach (Blue Poppy, 2007), Dr. Sears L.E.A.N. Families Coach

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 35

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Elise Adams

I am a parent supporting my children as they recover from some early childhood trauma –I was homeless and in an abusive relationship when they were very young.

My perspective is that a lot of childhood obesity is about emotional stress in our young kids lives. Sure nutrition and family habits play a role. But I’ve discovered for my little ones that when we are at the MOST peaceful and stress-free in our home that the physical complaints of hunger or begging for fast food or junk food greatly decreases. This mirrors, in many ways, my own experiences with food so it’s a bit of common sense to apply this to my own kiddos too.

A huge resource for me is Dr. Bruce Perry, child psychiatrist and researcher on early childhood trauma.

~Elise Adams

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 34

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Debi Silber

Many kids are so over scheduled as they race from school to clubs, activities, teams, etc. They need to eat and often they’re given high sugar, highly processed snack foods and drinks that are easy to travel with and they can eat in the car. In an effort to save time as well, many parents go through the drive thru to pick up their children’s meals going from one activity to the next.

Some kids are extremely sedentary. A major portion of their diets consists of unhealthy food/drinks and they’re spending hours in front of a TV or computer screen vs. being outside and active. This combination of poor food choices and a sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for poor health and obesity.

Food choices: it’s no mistake that high sugar, highly processed, nutrient poor foods are placed at kid’s eye level on the supermarket shelves. When they’re shopping with a parent, it’s easy for them to grab these items and throw them into the shopping cart. If they beg and plead enough, mom often gives in. (I’m certainly not judging and have fallen victim to this many times myself)

Advertisements: kids are bombarded with brightly colored, fun and engaging ads and commercials to try the latest cereal, snack, dessert and drink. These “sub-foods” may even boast a few added nutrients yet don’t mention that the item has been so depleted of value, it’s doing nothing to support growth, health or nourishment.

Lack of role models: unfortunately, many kids lack healthy role models. So many parents are overburdened with responsibilities, tasks and commitments that they simply don’t have the time, energy or motivation left for their own self care. As a result, they’re unfit, overweight, overwhelmed and unhappy and unfortunately pass this on to their kids.

Portion sizes: We’re “super-sizing”, “economy sizing” and “value mealing” as we think we’re getting so much more for our money. The price for that “value”? Larger waistlines, poor health and a lower self image and self esteem as we become increasingly unfit, overweight and unhealthy.

Children need to eat real, whole, nutrient dense food. To encourage this, get them involved because they’re more likely to support what they help to create. According to their ages and stages, have them help create a shopping list, menus, prepare meals, pack their snacks, cook and even plant a simple garden with vegetables they’re willing to try. It also helps to create interesting ways toprepare healthy food which may encourage kids to try them.

Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach® – President of Lifestyle Fitness, Inc. and Founder of the Mojo Coach

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 33

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Sadie Nardini

I think many parents have gotten lazy themselves, don’t place their own health as a high priority and don’t invest in proper parenting when it comes to maintaining their children’s healing routines.. More than that, the root of a child’s imbalance is often the parents, who are not making the time and taking the effort to treat themselves well. An unhealthy, unhappy parent who doesn’t make the home into a health-and-fitness-oriented environment, in my opinion, has not done their best job. The way the parents live and view food and exercise is mirrored in the well-being of their children. So to encourage kids to be their best, parents need to be at theirs. Make a commitment to cooking with whole foods, taking after-dinner walks with your kids, enrolling them in sports and educating yourself as a parent about what it takes to look and feel your most vital, so you can pass the wisdom onto your
kids.

A couch potato lifestyle is setting in earlier and earlier. Kids need to play, yet a combination of too many processed foods and lethargy-inducing video games and TV keep them stagnant. The more housebound kids get, the more obese. If they’re going to stay home and play video games, switch their games to movement-oriented ones, like Dance Central, Star Wars, Mass Effect and others. Get your kids the Xbox Kinect, which gets them off the couch and exercising while they play.

Sadie Nardini, Host of Veria Living’s daily yoga show, Rock Your Yoga

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 32

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Kristin Serio

I am a 23-year-old Mom and have a wonderful 2-year-old son who has already adopted great eating practices!

I believe childhood obesity is on the rise because parents aren’t taking responsibility for what their children are eating. Parents find it easier to just give in to their child’s complaining and give them the foods they want, rather than actually being a parent. We live in a society that is always on the go, but just because we are constantly busy doesn’t mean healthy eating goes out the window. There are plenty of great snack options that can easily be brought along besides the traditional bags of chips, candy, etc.

Teaching children healthy eating habits at the get go will help children in leading a healthy lifestyle. “Delicious” food doesn’t have to be junk food, and snacks don’t have to be full of sugars and fat. For example, I have taught my son to really enjoy eating fruit pouches. They are a treat for him to have, and with 100% fruit, it’s a snack I don’t feel guilty about.

My name is Kristin Serio and I am an Account Coordinator at Uproar PR.

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 31

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Lydia Odell

I believe there are a few things that contribute to childhood obesity – the public school day only allows a very brief recess time for children to run around and be active. In addition the same children eat the public school lunch that very often consists of chicken nuggets, stromboli, pizza, or hotdogs. Children are wired to move, to run…there should be more time for this throughout the day. Another contributing factor to childhood obesity is that children and families are too plugged in. The gadgets (computer, internet, ipods, ipads, games) take over while exercise is put on hold. Another contributing factor of childhood obesity is the amount of soda and juice that is consumed each day. Many families stock the frig with drinks high in calories and sugar. Kids think they need “special” drinks rather then the old fashioned tap water!

Lydia Odell Trainer, Coach

What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 30

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Ilyse Schapiro

Childhood obesity is on the rise for a number of reasons.

1. Increase in Media time and Video games, Ipads, Itouches, Computers. What kid doesn’t have or have access to their parents Ipad these days or home computer? Instead of when we were kids and our parents only gave us the option to go outside and run around with friends, many parents are letting their kids spend countless hours on the computer or other media device. Whether educational or not, this is a sedentary activity where kids are not burning calories, and this often also leads to over eating. When people eat while engaging in video games or watching TV they are more likely to consume more calories because it is completely mindless, and they don’t realize how much they are eating.

Parents can limit media time to 1 hour per day. When kids are not in school, they should be spending time running around outdoors, in the park, or engaging in after school sports.

2. Increase in packaged/convenience foods. Many households have both parents working so there is less time to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Many parents turn to “snack packs” which even if they are “100 calories” are loaded with sugar. These snack packs tend to be unsatisfying which leads a person to crave more sometimes consuming a second package if not more of something else.

Parents need to make time to go to the grocery store and stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. If you work full time, pick one day on the weekend to cook a few meals for the week. Cut up vegetables and fruit and leave them in containers in the fridge for easy access.

3. Knowledge: With so much conflicting information out there, some parents just don’t know what is good for their kids any more. Parents also tend to be more lenient these days, and let the child dictate their needs.

My advice, every child is different and has different requirements. Seek advice from a Registered Dietitian if your child is having weight problems.

Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, CDN