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Obese Preschoolers

Posted by cavewomanrunner on April 7, 2009

There have been many articles recently on obesity in children. One posted on CNN today states that 1/5 of all 4 year olds are obese. That’s 20 percent. I remember the days when it was rare to have one overweight child in a neighborhood, let alone one in every five being obese. And these kids aren’t even in school yet!

What\’s the difference between overweight and obese? Overweight= BMI of 25.0 to 29.9. Obese= BMI of 30+

Some people say the cause of childhood obesity is hard to pinpoint. Is it really? Dr. Tom Robinson states: “We know most of the changes that have occurred in body fat tend to occur from being in an environment that promotes very easy access to high-caloric foods and limited opportunities for physical activities.”

Exactly. Just go to a convenience store or a supermarket and see all the boxes and wrappers of processed “foods.” Most adults don’t eat meats, veggies and fruits. And guess what, kids eat what their parents eat. Plus kids are flooded by the media for sugar, candies, and chocolate (translation = money for manufacturers and advertisers, health problems for kids).

Michael Rich, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, offered an interesting idea to combat childhood obesity: the 5-2-1-0 plan: “Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, cut screen time down to two hours or less, exercise at least one hour, and have zero soda and sugary drinks.”

I would edit that to have zero sugary, processed FOODS. The sugar doesn’t just come from drinks. Just look at a few examples: Cocoa-puffs, Snickers, donuts, cakes, and ice creams. Children eating these items every day, and most times more than the normal serving sizes, causes these problems. Lack of exercise does not help either.

Our paleo ancestors would be shocked and dismayed. I’m sure even paleo children had to be fit to survive – to help their families and villages get food and shelter. Survival is no longer an issue – instead we have plenty of extra time to stuff ourselves and our children with sugary sweets.

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2 Responses to “Obese Preschoolers”

  1. Rayna said

    I’m with you here. This subject really upsets me and it is something I’m very passionate about attempting to fix.

    I think the problem is going to be starting with the parents- most of them don’t see a problem. “Oh, i ate candy as a kid”… really? with every meal? and you never went outside either? You can’t just look at one factor… and they seem to only look at what’s convenient to them.

  2. Jessica said

    It is incredibly difficult to get to zero processed foods with kids. I have to pick my battles. My oldest is 13 and he chooses to eat nasty school lunch every day because he doesn’t want to be deal with his friends making fun of him for eating healthy food!!
    The best I can do for now is allow my children to make their own food choices outside of the house while also providing the best possible food in our house. And TEACH them about food and nutrition!! I know that my kids are understanding the nutrition info I teach them, but that doesn’t mean they will follow it now. I DO hope it means they will follow it later, when they are adults.
    I KNOW, that just like me, if I forbid anything that I will succeed only in making sure they eat even more of the forbidden item than before. So if my kids all decide they want their one treat at the store to be Pop Tarts this week, fine. I can live with that. As long as they know and understand that it is a TREAT, not a real FOOD!
    I could go on forever about this topic!

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