Childhood Obesity Statistics
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association and The National Center For Health Statistics, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage or childhood obese children rose from 7-18% in the ages of 6-11 years old in the past 25 years, and rose from 5-21% in children in the ages of 12-19 in the same period.
Childhood nutrition, although based on the same principles as adults, is specific to needing different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. Obesity and being overweight are the result of consuming too many calories and expending not enough of those calories consumed.
Poor Eating Behaviors of Young People
- Most U.S. youth do not get 2-6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
- Most U.S. youth do not get 2-3 ounces of whole grain a day
- Most U.S. youth eat more than the daily recommended intake of sodium (1,500-2,300mg per day)
- Youth are consuming empty calories from added fats and sugars that contribute to 40% of their daily calories.
Nutrient Dense Foods – Options to Promote a Balanced Diet
Fruits: Fresh fruits, rather than dried fruits have high fiber and vitamin amounts. If your child drinks fruit juice, make sure it is 100% juice, so as to avoid the excess sugar is most fruit drinks.
Protein: Lean proteins include seafood, turkey, chicken, eggs, beans and soy products, as well as unsalted nuts
Vegetables: Canned, fresh, or frozen vegetables are fine. Darker green, red, and orange vegetables are great. And beans and peas have a lot of fiber.
Grains: Whole grains are better than refined flowers. Whole grain bread, oatmeal, quinoa, wild rice and popcorn are good options.
Dairy: Fat free. low fat, and soy dairy products in place of whole fat options.
Daily Recommended Caloric Intake For Girls & Boys
*The total caloric amounts vary based off of activity level
Tricks Toward Healthier Eating
- Offer water or milk instead of sugary fruit drinks and soft drinks
- Have half of your child’s plate be fruit and veggies
- Use whole grain breads and cereals instead of reduced refined grains
- Bake, grill, or steam foods instead of frying them
- Limit fast food and junk food
Benefits of Healthy Eating
- A proper balance diet promotes healthy growth and development in children
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Prevents high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis, dental cavities, and iron deficiency
- Healthy eating as a lifestyle and getting daily physical exercise can lower the risk of becoming obese
- Schools play a crucial role in promoting healthy habits of providing healthy food and requiring physical activities
- Other influencing factors include family, communities, child care settings, school and medical providers
Physical Activity Facts
- Physical activity helps build healthy bones, increase endurance, decrease stress, reduce depression, and control weight
- Ages 6-17 should participate in 1 hour of physical activity a day
- Schools should provide active programs for all age groups
- Physical activity oftentimes helps improves children’s academic performance
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