The Early Intervention Imperative
Editors Note: With the continued rise in childhood obesity unabated, many parents ask the question, “Why not wait for my child to grow out of their baby fat and cute chubbiness before I have to worry about it?”
Parents also raise the question, “What is an effective solution if my child is overweight?”
This article seeks to begin answering these key questions, for parents, teachers, and clinicians.
Evidence becomes inexorably more compelling that the current epidemic of childhood overweight and obesity is directly caused by lack of physical activity and increased caloric intake. Children are progressively exposed to less and less regular physical activity, while being over-exposed to calorie dense, nutritionally poor foods.
The solution to this world-wide problem lies in the schools and the homes of children. Each provide powerful opportunities to make the lifestyle interventions proven effective in changing the activity and eating patterns of at-risk children.
• With insufficient physical activity, children afflicted with overweight and obesity are at elevated risk of early onset of weight-related diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart enlargement, current and later cardiovascular disease, early cancer, limited cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal development, reduced cognitive development, social ostracism, bullying (both perpetrator and victim), decreased academic progress, anxiety, and depression.
• The most effective interventions are well-known; regular and vigorous physical activity, and a change from high calorie, nutrient-poor foods to low calorie, nutrient-dense foods. In todayʼs obesogenic, a concerted effort will be required to ensure the adoption of positive lifestyle changes.
• Schools are positioned to be highly influential in the development of healthy children. Rather than detracting from academic progress, time spent in physical activity during the school day actually improves learning capacity, and well-nourished children are clearly more receptive to instruction. School facilities and personnel can provide both. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Th Early Intervention Imperative
• The fundamental responsibility for child health lies in the home, where parents and siblings have a powerful effect on the kind of lifestyle adopted. Parental role modeling of foods eaten, meal settings, and exercise patterns are the foundation of a childʼs adoption of a healthy lifestyle.
More to come. Stay Tuned.
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VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
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