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Obesity in kids costs $100 billion per year

Unity of Boston will host a workshop on Obesity in Kids on Saturday, October 29, 1:00 - 3:00 PM. Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion. Author Peartie Lawrence believe that the problem of childhood obesity is in the United States is out of control. Recent surveys indicate that between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese.

The author of a new Kindle e-book Obesity and Kids (ASIN: B005D9RUFG) Lawrence said children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise. Parents she said can help children overcome the obesity challenge by making healthy changes at home, then teaching their children what to do away from home.

1. What is obesity?
A few extra pounds do not suggest obesity. However they may indicate a tendency to gain weight easily and a need for changes in diet and/or exercise. Generally, a child is not considered obese until the weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for the height and body type. Obesity most commonly begins in childhood between the ages of five and six, and during adolescence. Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.

2. What causes obesity?
The causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors. Basically, obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up. If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that the children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, the children have an 80 percent chance of being obese. Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than one percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:

• Poor eating habits
• Overeating or binging
• Lack of exercise (i.e., couch potato kids)
• Family history of obesity
• Medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
• Medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
• Stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, deaths, abuse)
• Family and peer problems
• Control portions and consume less calories
• Increase physical activity (especially walking) and have a more active lifestyle
• Know what your child eats at school
• Eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
• Do not use food as a reward
• Limit snacking

Obesity frequently becomes a lifelong issue. The reason most obese adolescents gain back their lost pounds is that after they have reached their goal, they go back to their old habits of eating and exercising. An obese adolescent must therefore learn to eat and enjoy healthy foods in moderate amounts and to exercise regularly to maintain the desired weight. Parents of an obese child can improve their child's self esteem by emphasizing the child's strengths and positive qualities rather than just focusing on their weight problem.

by S. C.
05 october 2011, World News > America

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