Friday, July 8, 2011

Myths and Truths about Weight Problems in Children

Today, 1 out of 3 children and teens in the U.S. are overweight and a huge number of families around the world are affected by childhood obesity. Those extra pounds put kids at risk of developing serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Childhood obesity also takes an emotional toll. Overweight and obese children are often teased and excluded from team activities, leading to low self-esteem, negative body image, and even depression.
If you’re the parent of an overweight child, these facts may sound scary and discouraging. But here’s the good news: with the right support, encouragement, and positive role modeling you can help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight.

MYTH: Childhood obesity is genetic, so there’s nothing you can do about it. 
TRUTH: While a person’s genes do influence weight, they are only one small part of the equation. Although some children are more prone to gaining weight than others, that doesn’t mean they’re destined for weight problems. Most kids can maintain a healthy weight if they eat right and exercise.

MYTH: Children who are obese or overweight should be put on a diet. 
TRUTH: Unless directed by your child’s doctor otherwise, the treatment for childhood obesity is not weight loss. The goal should be to slow or stop weight gain, allowing your child to grow into his or her ideal weight.

MYTH: It’s just baby fat. Children will outgrow the weight.
TRUTH: Childhood obesity doesn’t always lead to obesity in adulthood, but it does raise the risks dramatically. The majority of children who are overweight at any time during the preschool or elementary school are still overweight as they enter their teens. Most kids do not outgrow the problem.

For guidance on helping your child with his or her weight, download this free pamphlet from:  We Can! Families Finding the Balance, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

Source:, Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A. and Lawrence Robinson , March 2011.

1 comment:

jillconyers said...

Great information! Thanks for linking up with FF.