September is National Childhood Obesity Month and we at Gentle Professional Foot Care believe it is an important issue to address for the health of our patients. Studies show that children who are obese tend to stay obese into adulthood. Carrying excess weight poses obvious risks to your feet and ankles, causing or exacerbating many common podiatric problems. In addition, obesity in children has the following risks:
- Increased risk for many chronic health issues including bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, asthma, heart disease, sleep apnea and high blood pressure
- Overweight children are teased and bullied more than their peers which can lead to depression and mental health issues
Helping your child maintain a healthy weight now can help prevent these problems.
Why Are So Many Children Overweight?
The latest statistics show that 1 in 6 children in the U.S. is obese—that’s about 17% of our children. There are many factors contributing to this, including:
- Increased amount of time spent in front of a screen: phone, television, computer
- Lack of places to go in the community for physical activities
- Easy access to inexpensive high calorie, high-fat foods and sugary drinks
- Not enough hours of sleep
Making Changes as a Family
The best way to improve lifestyle habits that will help your child get to and stay at a healthy weight is to implement changes slowly and in a way that is enjoyable. Making healthy habits a family affair is more likely to bring lasting results. Below are some steps to take to get your family on the right track:
- Seek out active outings: go biking, rollerblading, hiking at a local state park. Stuck inside? Try a dance party video or clear a space in the family room for exercising together.
- Educate your children about healthy eating. Take time in the grocery store to show them how to read labels and look for low-calorie foods that do not contain trans or saturated fats and high amounts of sugar.
- Enlist your children’s help in replacing unhealthy snacks with healthy ones.
- Get everyone their own water bottles and stop buying sodas and other sugary drinks.
If your child is currently experiencing any foot pain or discomfort, make an appointment at our Venice office by calling: (941) 493-7999. Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey will do a complete podiatric examination and determine the source of the pain.