Mon, 9/26/2011 3:31 PM
In honor of National Childhood Obesity Month, Katelyn Wolfe, MS, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, shares some ways to help encourage your child to live a healthy lifestyle.
September 2011 has been proclaimed by President Obama to be National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Why raise awareness for obesity? More than 23 million children ages 2 – 19 in the U.S. are obese or overweight. In fact, childhood obesity has increased more than fourfold among those ages 6 – 11 in recent years. Obesity puts children at an early risk for diseases like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke.
So, what is obesity? For adults, a math equation that considers a person’s weight and height is used to determine a body mass index, or BMI. The BMI number indicates if a person is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. For children, the same math equation is used, but then the number is plotted onto a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth chart to determine what percentile the child is in relation to other children of the same age and sex. For example, if a 6-year-old boy plots on the 75th percentile, that means his BMI is greater than 75 percent of all U.S. boys that are 6 years old and lesser than 25 percent of U.S. boys that are 6 years old. To be considered obese as a child, the BMI must plot greater than or equal to the 95th percentile on the growth chart.
Parents and community members can help to change the trend toward obesity in our community. Try implementing these tips to fight or prevent childhood obesity:
Do you wonder if your child is overweight or obese? Your primary care provider can assess your child and refer him or her to Le Bonheur’s Nutrition Clinic if your child needs nutrition counseling.
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Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center is a leading children's hospital in the Mid South, providing pediatric care to children from 95 counties in six states.
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