By Jay Helliwell
The Statistics, Problem, and Truth of Obesity in Children.
“Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years,” writes cdc.gov. “In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.”
According to the Letsmove movement, an organization dedicated to raising a healthier generation of kids in America, children who are obese are at the whim of illnesses that target blood pressure, the cardiovascular system, the pancreas, and even their ability to sleep.
“Obese children and teens have been found to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and abnormal glucose tolerance,” they write. “In addition to suffering from poor physical health, overweight and obese children can often be targets of early social discrimination… there have been some studies showing that obese children are not learning as well as those who are not obese.”
It’s obvious: obesity in children and adolescents has not just become another health issue we need to be worried about, it’s become an epidemic of its very own. Millions of children around the world suffer with poor physical health and treatment that results in obesity. Obesity, in turn, results in lack of motivation, less achievement, and lower self-esteem. Young kids with low self-esteem and no motivation aren’t propelled to succeed in life, and these leaders of tomorrow seldom seek and discover the help and guidance they need.
What do you do if your child or one close to you is obese? The very first step in the process is to let them know that you’ll be there for them and supportive. “Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them,” states an article written on WebMD. “If you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to feel good about themselves.” Separation and discrimination are most certainly not the ways to go about reconciling your child about their weight; make sure that they always feel loved, welcomed, and secure when they’re around you, but it’s simultaneously important to let them know they need to begin to take certain steps to become healthier.
Another tip is to gradually increase physical activity and healthier eating habits within the entire family, so that the obese child feels as if everyone else in the family is being involved, too. Family involvement can be a massive esteem-boost and prevents the obese child from “feeling singled-out.” Lead by example, involve everyone in your activities, and always be sensitive to the child’s needs. Insensitivity and lack of initiative are exactly what you want to avoid.
A second measure you can take to conquer child obesity and help ensure your child is getting the treatment he or she needs is to start a medical crowdfund. Plumfund, a website that gives you the tools to start local crowdfund campaigns for fundraising, health needs, and medical bills, is just one of the many options available to you. Oftentimes, when your own funds can’t always cover expenses, it’s a good idea to reach out to family and friends for a helping hand. Plumfund is free of charge, created by real people, for real people; and posts some of their successful campaigns on their home page.
Plumfund also illustrates a quote by Dalai Lama on their home page: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” No matter how tall, small, thin, or obese a child is, he or she never deserves anything less than to feel like they matter and have a voice in the world; something that these two feelings always provide.
– Submitted by guest author, Jay Helliwell.