What’s behind the epidemic of childhood obesity in America? There’s really no one-size-fits-all answer to this complicated question. For one child, it might be poverty and lack of availability of healthy foods. For another, it’s a genetic predisposition. For yet another, we can point to an environment that doesn’t provide for physical activity or emotional support. One child may be influenced in all of these ways.
As we observe Childhood Obesity Awareness Month here at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center in Monmouth County, New Jersey, we’re happy to say that there’s good news. A report released last month on the state of obesity in America shows that rates of childhood obesity are actually going down or stabilizing for kids ages 2-11.
But now the bad news: the rate of obesity in children ages 12-19 is increasing.
Studies show that overweight children are more likely to carry their obesity into adulthood. Our board-certified podiatrists Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Joseph Saka, and Dr. Katy Statler are deeply concerned about rising rates of childhood obesity. That’s because being overweight contributes to a slew of problems in the lower limbs of obese children and the obese adults they’re likely to become.
What you can do
As adults, we have the power to educate our children on how to maintain a healthy weight and prevent foot problems like chronic heel pain, ankle instability, flat feet, joint pain, and Type 2 diabetes. We can also give them the tools to do it:
·Keep your pantry stocked with low-fat, low-sugar snacks.
·Limit screen time and encourage your kids to move and play together. Teach them some new or old-fashioned games that get them outside and moving!
·Get active as a family. Make time for family bike rides and after-dinner walks.
·Round up the neighbors for a pick-up game in the park.
·Encourage club activities such as swimming, scouting, and music lessons that keep kids active, interested, and not thinking about snacking.
·Find some new healthy recipes and create them together.
If your child has difficulty walking or refuses to participate in activities, they may be suffering from foot pain. Make an appointment with us online or call us at our office in Howell at (732) 905-1110. Together, we can be a part of the solution to childhood obesity.