Obesity is becoming more prevalent in Americans, including in children below seven years of age. Childhood obesity will most likely lead to a lifetime of weight issues as well as problems associated with the condition.
A Nationwide Problem
1-in-3 Americans are obese — that’s 95 million adults and 15 million children out of the 320 million Americans. The obesity rate among adults is close to 40 percent, while the rate for children stands at 15 percent. While Utah’s obesity rates are lower than the nation’s (28 percent for adults and 8.7 percent in children), the numbers have been steadily rising (by almost 15 percent) over the past years. Obesity is not just a health problem; it is also an economic one. In 2018, the annual medical cost for obesity-related problems and conditions amounted to a staggering $180 billion.
Obesity has adverse effects on the individual, the community, and the nation. The condition increases the risk of both physical and mental diseases, as well as premature death. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, arthritis, liver disease, gallbladder disease, kidney disease, depression, several forms of cancer, and increased risk of strokes are some of the diseases and conditions associated with obesity. 1-in-5 Americans will die from obesity-related causes, and obesity reduces your lifespan by 3-10 years. Aside from health issues, obesity also has detrimental effects on one’s economic and social standing. Productivity issues are often seen as a problem, and being obese might hinder your chances of receiving a raise or getting promoted. Appearance and fitness are still significant factors in social interactions, particularly in dating or when starting new relationships. Overall, obesity will significantly lower your quality of life. Weight problems, diseases, and conditions carry over to your senior years, leading to mobility issues due to the increased strain on your muscles and bones throughout the years.
Keeping Your Kid Fit and Healthy
The steep rise in childhood obesity in Utah is alarming, but there are specific measures you can take to manage your child’s weight and keep him/her fit. A healthy diet is still the most effective means of staving off obesity. Cut down on sugary food and drinks — especially sodas — and reduce the carbs in your kid’s diet while increasing the protein. Encourage your child to take up a sport or set up a backyard basketball court where he/she can shoot hoops with their friends at home. Practice what you preach and make an effort to keep fit yourself. Schedule family activities like joining a half marathon or a sprint triathlon; the preparations and the actual race will bring your family closer after conquering a collective goal. Make sure your kids get enough sleep. A lack of sleep is a significant factor in weight gain, disrupting your kid’s normal diet by increasing his/her craving for food.
Nobody wants to be the fat kid in school. Keep your child healthy and fit with a proper diet, regular exercise, and a healthy sleep regimen, ensuring a more productive and enjoyable future.