Obesity - Overweight Kids
Causes of Child Obesity
Overweight in children and adolescents is generally caused by lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of the two, with genetics and lifestyle both playing important roles in determining a child's weight.
Lack of Exercise
Our society has become very sedentary. Television, computer and video games contribute to children's inactive lifestyles. 43% of adolescents watch more than 2 hours of television each day. Children, especially girls, become less active as they move through adolescence.
If Your Child is Overweight
Many overweight children who are still growing will not need to lose weight, but can reduce their rate of weight gain so that they can "grow into" their weight.
Your child's diet should be safe and nutritious. It should include all of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamins, minerals, and protein and contain the foods from the major Food Guide Pyramid groups.
Any weight-loss diet should be low in calories (energy) only, not in essential nutrients. Even with extremely overweight children, weight loss should be gradual. Crash diets and diet pills can compromise growth and are not recommended by many health care professionals.
Weight Loss and Regain
Weight lost during a diet is frequently regained unless children are motivated to change their eating habits and activity levels for a lifetime. Weight control must be considered a lifelong effort. Any weight management program for children should be supervised by a physician.
SOURCE: Surgeon General, Official Recommendations.
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