Speak Up Focus Issue: Obesity Prevention/Fitness Promotion

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Speak Up Focus Issue: Obesity Prevention/Fitness Promotion

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At Speak Up for Kids, we are committed to reducing the incidence of childhood overweight and obesity in Wisconsin. Because of this, we have made obesity prevention one of our focus issues.

Overweight and obesity are terms used to describe weight categories that are considered unhealthy. It is often useful to think of overweight and obesity as simply as an "imbalance" between energy expenditure and energy (food) intake, with the scale tipped further toward intake.

Why Is Pediatric Obesity a Problem?

Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Overweight and obesity-in children and adults-has been linked with increased risk for:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Psychological problems

In large part because of the increased incidence of obesity, the youngest generation of children is expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents-something that hasn't happened for more than two hundred years.

What Are the Possible Solutions for Pediatric Obesity?

Any solution must include both physical activity and nutritional components.

Examples of solutions involving physical activity:

  • Increasing class time devoted to physical education¬†
  • Improving health education curriculum to stress importance of physical activity
  • Where possible, using "walking bus routes", supervised walks to and from school with a group of peers

Examples of solutions involving nutrition:

  • Increasing the availability of nutrient-rich school meals
  • Improving health education curriculum to stress importance of good nutrition
  • Eliminating school soda and vending machines

While each of these solutions requires the action of government, there are also many home-based solutions that do not. Encouraging our children to get outside and play and providing them with healthy means are two basic but very effective tools we can do to keep our kids healthy.

What is American Family Children's Hospital Doing to Help?

The Pediatric Fitness Clinic at American Family Children's Hospital offers a program to help children develop healthy habits of exercise and good nutrition. This program combines education with fun for children between the ages of 5 and 18 who:

  • Have concerns regarding their weight or fitness
  • Want to improve their fitness and conditioning
  • Who have developed medical problems related to their weight (such as high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure)

Learn more about the Pediatric Fitness Clinic and find additional resources to help promote a healthy lifestyle in your kids.