Sunday, March 30, 2014

Positive Signs in the Childhood Obesity Fight

Obesity is a serious problem worldwide.  Approximately one third of the people in the U.S. are obese. And many researchers are attempting to discover ways to fight the disease. Because obesity is associated with so many serious illnesses, curbing the disease is an important endeavor.  And establishing effective, early life treatments for the disease is also important, since obesity-associated illnesses can start before a person is five years of age.

Experts agree that obesity during childhood puts a child at a higher risk for high cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. And a recent "study has found that obesity can...put children at risk for...attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, allergies and ear infections. So curbing childhood obesity is important for the future."

Fortunately, there has been some success in the development of new tools to fight childhood obesity. An example of a promising treatment approach is one where a state pediatrician is working with teachers to show them how to teach kids to make healthier choices at school, and with parents, to show them how to create healthier environments at home.

And in a study, it was found that younger kids listen to older kids when the older kids teach the younger kids about exercise and nutrition. So, permitting kids to teach kids could be a good approach to fighting childhood obesity.

Although having a physician teach teachers to teach kids and having older kids teach younger kids may not be perfect approaches to childhood obesity, they are worth considering. And as we learn more about these and other approaches, we can refine and make these approaches more effective.

If community stakeholders continue to take an active role in the obesity fight by supporting methods like the ones mentioned above, we might put a dent in childhood obesity. Using the methods could reduce the chances that children will face obesity-related illnesses in adulthood. It is obvious that curbing childhood obesity is a goal requiring healthcare providers, policy makers, and citizens to work together to meet the goal.

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