Understanding Childhood Obesity
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. While not all Athletic Trainers work with youth, this is a serious issue that will affect generations to come. If obesity occurs at a young age, there is a greater risk of its continuing into adulthood.
Some health risks that affect obese children are:
- Breathing problems (sleep apnea and asthma)
- Fatty liver disease
- Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort
- Increased risk of diabetes
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Obesity may also lead to bullying, which can cause psychological and mental problems in adolescents and teenagers. Discrimination, poor self-esteem and poor self-worth are just a few issues that may hinder the child in school, sports and other activities. The best way to handle childhood obesity is to tackle the issue early on in a child’s life.
As parents or Athletic Trainers, we can help with this issue in several ways:
- Encourage more outside activities
- Reduce sedentary time
- Serve reasonably sized portions
- Encourage children to drink more water and stay away from sugary drinks
- Focus on good health, not a specific weight
- Set a good example