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Childhood obesity in my own backyard

Posted on Feb 23, 2015 by Maggie LaBarbera

I was just at a dear family friend's 85th birthday and I noticed that an 11 year old child attending the party did not want to eat most of the food on her dinner plate.  We were at a Peruvian restaurant.

Not surprising that kids can be a bit picky in their food choices especially as they become teens.  But what I did not mention is that this child is obese.  Yes, she is one of the 12 million children in the United States who are obese.  She is also Hispanic where data shows they have a higher percentage of obesity compared to non Hispanics.  I had not seen her in awhile and was very surprised at how much weight she had put on.  What before looked like cute little pudgier child was now a very overweight child.

  • Currently, 38.2 percent of Hispanic children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese, compared with 31.7 percent of all children those ages.2
  • „Hispanic boys ages 2 to 19 are more likely to be overweight or obese than white or African- American boys. The prevalence of overweight and obesity is 39.9 percent among Hispanic boys, 33.0 percent among African-American boys and 29.5 percent among white boys.3
  • „ More Hispanic children ages 2 to 11 are obese than their peers. Among Hispanics, 14.2 percent of children ages 2 to 5 and 25.1 percent of those ages 6 to 11 are obese. By comparison, 9.1 percent of white children ages 2 to 5 and 19.0 percent of white children ages 6 to 11 are obese.4 

I wondered about this because here I am promoting healthy eating for children and writing and creating new materials to help families and educators teach healthy eating and I see it staring me in the face in my own circle.

I watched and noticed that even though she did not eat her dinner, she enjoyed a very healthy serving of cake.  Of course, I was not going to say anything or embarrass her or my friend.

I think part of the problem is that as a culture, we don't necessarily see obesity as an unhealthy condition.  With children, we think it is healthy.  

I will be reaching out to work more with my friend on positive tactics and encourage family strategies to help her and her family make healthier choices.  

I just wanted to share this battle that faces all of us. It is personal and professional and it is all of our problems.


Nourish Thought for the Day:  

It's easy to give advice but necessarily easy to follow it!

Childhood Obesity Resources and Tips for Parents articles

Parents’ Guide - What Is BMI Score

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a child's weight and height that helps determine body fat. Article that explains how a child's BMI is calculated and what that might indicate about a child's weight status.

Calculate Your Child’s BMI-for-age Percentile

As a parent, you may want to know what your child's BMI score. We have a quick and easy tool that will do all the calculations for you. Calculate your child's BMI-for-age Percentile score.

Childhood Obesity Information For Families

Childhood obesity is now a significant concern in the United States and across many other countries around the world. Learn more about the health and economic concern surrounding childhood obesity.

Childhood Obesity Prevention- Parental Information - A Healthy Guide

Tips for parents with overweight children. How to know if your child is overweight and initial steps toward helping your child move towards a healthy weight.

Health Risks for Children Who Are Overweight

Our nurses have looked at some of the recent studies and trends from credible health organizations and studies. A comprehensive list of the health risks and complications associated with childhood obesity. 

Does My Child Need To Lose Weight?

Helping a child lose weight does not have to be a painful experience. We believe that nutrition can be fun and is most important for kids trying to lose weight. Tips for parents trying to help their child lose weight.

Why You Should Not Put Your Child on a Fad Diet

Managing your child’s weight as a family tips, Say NO to fad diets for children and YES to small steps and healthy eating habits for the whole family. Quick guidelines for eating a healthy diet for helping your overweight child. 

Guide To Helping Overweight Children Eat Healthier Foods

If your child is overweight, they will need to make changes to the eating habits. It is important that your child does not feel singled out from the family’s routine. This article has parenting tips to help guide parents in changing eating habits. 

Childhood Obesity And Increasing Daily Exercise

Exercise is a key ingredient to helping overweight children lose weight. Key stratagies to helping your child increase their activity level using positive messaging and supportive tactics.

Childhood Obesity Rates By Individual States

Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health reports each year on the status of our children in the United States. It tracks the rate of childhood obesity not only nationally but also by individual states. See how your state ranks. 

Reports and Resources for Child Health Providers

Are you concerned about childhood obesity? Are you looking for more resources? Here is a guide of some of the best resources we have found worldwide.






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