Is my child “big-boned” or…obese?

Obesity is a devastating problem that is furiously gaining ground in North America, and unfortunately, our children are not spared. It would seem that a quarter of young Canadians are considered “stout” or “plump”. Child obesity is a complex problem that is predominantly caused by a lack of physical activity and bad eating habits. To remedy this situation, the entire family must participate.

Obesity is a devastating problem that is furiously gaining ground in North America, and unfortunately, our children are not spared. It would seem that a quarter of young Canadians are considered “stout” or “plump”. Child obesity is a complex problem that is predominantly caused by a lack of physical activity and bad eating habits. To remedy this situation, the entire family must participate. But regrettably, it would seem that most parents do not actually recognize their children’s obesity problem. Nevertheless, these extra pounds can have major repercussions on the health and quality of life of children, both in the short and long term.

American researchers questioned over 2,000 parents regarding the health of their children. In spite of the obesity epidemic the United States and Canada are currently facing, most of the parents reported that their sons and daughters were close to their correct body weight.

Sadly however, the numbers depicted an entirely different reality. Researchers had asked the parents to provide the height and weight of their children. This allowed the researchers to observe that many of them, aged between six and 11 years old, were in fact over-weight or obese. The reality: more than 40% of the parents questioned were actually unaware of their sons and daughters’ weight problem.

Healthy lifestyle habits, such as healthy eating and performing regular physical activity, are learned behaviours that are mainly acquired during the childhood years. And as parents, it is entirely futile to stick our heads in the sand and simply ignore this fact. Speak with your child’s paediatrician or with your pharmacist to learn if your child is simply “big-boned”, or if his or her weight is actually too high. Being conscious of whether or not your child has a weight problem is the first step in the right direction. Armed with this knowledge, you can begin making changes in your family’s lifestyle habits. This will benefit your entire family, parents and kids alike, helping you keep your loved ones as strong and healthy as possible.

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