Putting Your Child’s Health First

Who doesn’t love those chubby little rolls on a baby’s legs? Parents and grandparents kiss them and gently squeeze them, saying how cute they are and how healthy the baby is. And, they are right. At what point, however, in a child’s life does “baby fat” become unhealthy fat?  Is it when the other kids at school begin teasing him/her? Is it when he/she becomes winded at recess and can’t keep up with the other kids?  How do you know if your child’s weight has crossed over into unhealthy territory?

As a parent, it is your job to protect your children, to provide love, shelter, clothing, and all the basic necessities of life.  We all have different ways we express our love for the people in our lives.  For those of you with a mom or grandma who loves to cook or bake, you have probably spent a lifetime enjoying their displays of love spread out before you on the dining table.  There is nothing wrong with that.  However, all things must be enjoyed in moderation.

Statistics from 2015-2016 show that 1 in 5 (20%) of children ages six to nineteen are obese, having excess body fat.  To help you get a visual, an average elementary school classroom has about twenty students.  On average, four of them will be obese.  BMI (Body Mass Index) is a key indicator of obesity. It is a ratio of height to weight. Click here to use a child/teen BMI calculator.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity in children and teens as having a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for young people of the same age and sex.  If the math seems confusing or overwhelming to you, do not dismay.  You can ask your child’s physician to check his/her BMI at the next check-up.  Additionally, many schools check BMI in specific grades, but only with the parents’ permission.  This is in an effort to keep the parents informed and fight childhood obesity.

You may wonder why it matters.  You may be overweight yourself and just think that it is genetics that is causing your child to be obese.  There is validity to that.  However, you don’t have to throw up your hands in despair.  Make sure your child is eating healthy, well-balanced food.  An occasional treat IS acceptable, but if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the package, we advise you not to buy it.  Make homemade cookies for a treat.  You can definitely pronounce flour, sugar, eggs, and chocolate chips! Plus, this is a fun activity to do WITH your child.

Additionally, we can not stress enough that your child NEEDS sixty minutes of physical activity a day.  This is good for you too, so why don’t you join him/her?  Shoot hoops, go for a long walk, kick a ball around in the backyard.  It doesn’t require going to a gym to be active, but it does require getting off the couch and turning off the tv or tablet. And, please don’t forget the necessity of a good night of sleep.  Your child may fight you on this one, but it truly makes a difference.

At Advanced Surgical and Weight Loss Institute, we know you love your child.  That is why we know that when we tell you that obese children are prone to asthma, diabetes, and even heart disease, you will feel saddened at the very thought.  Nobody wants their child to endure these awful health conditions.  If you have tried helping your child to lose weight and it isn’t working, contact his/her pediatrician.  Like you, we want the best health for your child.  If you are struggling with your weight and want to speak to our office regarding weight loss surgery options, please call us today.  We are pleased to serve the Melbourne, Rockledge, and Merritt Island areas.  Call today to take the first step toward being a healthy example for your child.