Starfish Therapies

April 26, 2010

Childhood Obeisity

Obesity is a continuously growing epidemic in our society and this article has an interesting perspective.  What’s even more interesting is that childhood obesity is rapidly growing.  Kids are supposed to be the active ones who burn calories faster than they can ingest them.  With First Lady Michelle Obama choosing obesity as her platform I can only hope that we will start to see a change in the youth of our country.

I was recently studying for an exam and childhood obesity came up multiple times for both typically developing kids and kids with special needs.  Everyone recognizes that its a problem but yet it continues to get worse and in the last 25 years it has become an epidemic.  Kids who are obese are at risk for orthopedic, neurological, pulmonary, gastroenterological, and endocrine conditions, not to mention that obesity has been associated with lower self esteem and poor academic performance.  Peaceful playgrounds is a great blog site that talks about the importance of physical activity and the links to academic performance and other factors, as well as some innovative ideas that are fairly easy to implement.  They also look at what other schools are doing that seems to be working, such as recess before lunch, or yoga.  Another story in the news is putting physical activity first thing in the school day.

How has it become such a problem?  Well, to start, obesity is caused by ingesting more energy than is being expended, over a long period of time.  This excess energy (or calories) causes an accumulation of body fat.  If you want to lose weight you need to decrease calories consumed or increase calories burned, or both.  This doesn’t have to be hard.  If you reduce your calories by 100 a day (less than one soda can) the result is approximately 10 pounds in one year.  That is if everything else stays the same.

Other ways, in addition to changing the calories consumed is to increase activity.  Try making a chart of the time your child is sedentary in front of a tv or computer screen.  If you can reduce that time in front of a screen, especially after school, it can encourage active behaviors which increase calorie burning.  Not to mention increased play time which works on socialization, problem solving, gross motor skills and sensory integration. Make it a household project to be healthy!

Other issues that are affecting kids activity are school budget cuts.  As a result recess, physical education and after school sports are being cut from the school day.  Some schools are trying to implement more activity into the classroom setting and finding good results.

For kids who are already challenged by physical disabilities they run a higher risk of obesity due to more challenges with physical activity, as well as decreased access to community and recreation programs.  In addition, with increased weight, their muscles need to be that much stronger in order for them to move themselves, or to stabilize themselves so they have good balance.  They are already working hard to move, lets not make it harder on them by adding extra weight for them to carry around.

I challenge everyone, not just kids to find ways to add extra activity or movement to your day!  ‘Lets move’ against obesity.


1 Comment »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Starfish Therapies. Starfish Therapies said: Childhood Obesity […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Childhood Obeisity « Starfish Therapies -- — April 26, 2010 @ 3:32 am | Reply

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