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Motivating Parents to Combat Childhood Obesity

By Natasha Smith

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[February 23, 2008]  I have recently been hearing more and more in the news about childhood obesity. It has become an epidemic, which means that more children are suffering with obesity than expected. As a nurse, I have seen complications from obesity such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Being overweight can affect self-esteem and lead to depression. Being obese as a child increases the risk of being obese in adulthood.

As parents, we can combat childhood obesity by improving diet and exercise. As a mother, I understand why childhood obesity occurs. Our world has become so fast-paced. It is a challenge to keep up with both work and family life. Meals that are prepackaged are easy but are not always the healthiest choice. It seems children nowadays are more interested in playing video games than exercising. Seeing how obese children were treated in school motivates me to see that this does not happen to my child.

As parents, we are our children's role models and can play a critical role in influencing our children's health. If they see us eating healthy and exercising, they will want to follow suit. We need to think healthy when we are buying our food and eat out less. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Engage in 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times per week outside. Get involved with your children. Go bike riding, swimming, walking or running. Let them explore their world, and in the end they will be more willing to preserve it. If it is too cold, go to the mall and walk. Being involved in activities with your children can bring families close together and allows time for you to really get to know your children. Isn't that what it is all about anyway?

[Text from file received from Natasha Smith]

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