Eating Healthy, Activity, and Kids
There is great concern these days for the health of our
children. The number of overweight and obese children has doubled in the last
two decades. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) proposes to foster the
prevention and early identification of overweight and obese children. The AAP
makes the following recommendations to pediatricians (and parents):
- Calculate and plot BMI
(body mass index) once a year in all children and adolescents and use
the change in BMI to identify rate of excessive weight gain.
- Encourage parents and caregivers to promote healthy eating patterns.
- Routinely promote physical activity, including unstructured play.
Recommend limitation of television and video time to a maximum of two hours
More "food" for thought:
- Over the course of a year, most children and
adolescents spend more time watching television than they spend in a
classroom. The average child watches 20,000 commercials per year, at least
half of which are for sugar-laden foods.
- Among 12-17 year-olds, the
prevalence of obesity rose with each additional
hour of watching TV.
- About a quarter of what adolescents eat is junk food
- French fries and other deep-fried foods, desserts, regular soft drinks,
candy, cookies, pies and cakes.
- Whole milk - which is labeled Vitamin D milk in
stores - and cheese are major sources of saturated fat in children's diets.
Switching from whole milk, ice cream and regular cheese to 1% or non-fat milk,
low-fat or fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese can help reduce saturated fat
intake while ensuring children still obtain the calcium and other essential
nutrients in dairy foods.
- Participation in all types of
physical activity declines strikingly as age or grade in school increases.
For additional information, please visit the following areas:
Portions of the preceding information has been provided with the kind
permission of California Department of Health Services (http://www.dhs.ca.gov)
Last Editorial Review: 2/26/2004