Childhood obesity in the United States is an epidemic. About 25% of children are overweight and 20% are obese. Being obese can lead to many other medical problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancers, just to name a few. Obesity doesn’t just cause physical health risks, children diagnosed as obese can suffer from emotional and psychological stress, such as depression, low self esteem, and other behavioral challenges.

Obesity is calculated by a Body Mass Index (BMI) that takes into account one’s weight in proportion to their height. A child’s BMI is calculated by assessing their height and weight relative to age and gender. For children, BMI doesn’t necessarily determine accurate obesity as it does with adults; however BMI can be a good indicator of the health risks and consequences the child may encounter. (To receive a more accurate assessment of your child’s weight, consider making an appointment with us here at the Mi Salud Clinic by clicking on the link “Make a pediatric appointment online” in the top right hand corner of the page.)

There are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity, such as environment, genetics, metabolism, eating habits and lifestyle choices. Consider limiting your child’s access to junk foods- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends their daily 5-2-1-0 Plan which stands for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of activity, and 0 calories from sugary sweetened drinks. As school begins to let out for the season, encourage children to get more physical activity, put down the smart phones and tablets and to shut off the computer and the television. Swimming, bike riding, walking, and helping out around the house is a good way for children to stay active and burn calories. As with any summer activity, make sure they drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!

As always, the Mi Salud clinic is ready to assist you and your family with any of your health needs. Feel free to give us a call at 602-523-9312 to schedule an appointment.