Obesity Is Costing Our Children Plenty

Children spend more time now watching TV, playing video games and sitting in front of a computer than they ever have before.  It's beginning to really worry the medical community that this sedentary lifestyle is creating more and more obese children. In fact, the number of overweight children has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Amy Salmen has battled weight for most of her eleven years. "When we divided up for teams, like on basketball and stuff, I was always the last one picked and I'm actually one of the best players." At four-foot-nine and one-hundred-forty pounds, amy knows she should lose weight. "15 pounds mostly. That's probably about it." What she doesn't know is how much weight she really needs to lose. According to doctors, Amy needs to drop about twenty-five pounds. She says she eats healthy. "When i pack my lunch, I just have a sandwich, 45 cents for milk and two pieces of fruit." But Amy's dad says, "It seems like if it's in the house and it's unhealthy, she's going to eat it." That unhealthy food comes at a hefty price. An overweight child is more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, asthma, arthritis and type two diabetes. Doctor Nicolas Stettler says it's everyone's responsibility. "When you see a very overweight child who is just three or four years old, it's hard to blame it on the child." He suggests parents replace TV time with physical activity, consult frequently with a pediatrician, breastfeed infants - it's thought to protect against future weight problems, and realize it's up to you to make healthy food choices. "Children are responsible for eating what they want to eat but the parents are responsible for making available some foods, rather than others." Doctor Stettler warns parents not to go overboard, but do take action. "Childhood may be a window of opportunity to be able to set them on the right track."