childhood obesity

Currently, there is no strict way to classify a childhood obesity or overweight. Nonetheless, the prevalence of childhood obesity is growing around the globe. The health effects of childhood obesity can be both phychological and physiological. Therefore by educating parents and children about healthy eating and the benefits of exercise, the hope is to not only help prevent childhood obesity in many, but also stem the rising prevalence in adults.

Definition of Childhood Obesity

Just like in adults, childhood obesity is defined by an accumulation of excess body fat; however, in children, the way excess body fat is measured and how these measurements are interpreted varies.

Around the globe, the different ways and criteria used to define childhood obesity and overweight include the following:
  • Skin-fold thickness: By measuring skin-fold thickness, a child can be classified as overweight if they have at least 25-30% body fat; however, there are many different methods that can be used to measure percentage body fat.
  • BMI (Body Mass Index): BMI is a person’s weight in kg divided by the height in metres squared (kg/m2), and is the measurement used to define an adult as being overweight or obese. However, the way the BMI is interpreted to define childhood obesity varies around the globe. In the USA, a child may be defined as overweight if they lie on or above the 95th percentile of BMI for the child’s age, while in some European countries, a child may be defined as overweight if they are at or above the 85th percentile of BMI and defined as having childhood obesity if their BMI resides at or above 95th percentile.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) uses BMI to define obesity for children and infants under the age of five years; however, the organisation states that it is much more difficult to measure obesity in children between five and 14 years of age and that there is therefore no global standard definition of childhood obesity for this age group. As such, WHO is currently working to develop an international growth reference for school-age children and adolescents.

Prevalence of Childhood Obesity

The prevalence of childhood obesity continues to rise in many regions of the globe, with childhood obesity already having become an epidemic in some areas.
WHO reports that an estimates 22 million children under five years of age are overweight around the globe. In the USA alone, the number of overweight children has doubled since 1980, while the number of overweight adolescents had tripled over this time frame. In terms of obesity, this has more than doubled in children aged six to 11 years over the past 50 years, while the prevalence of obesity in adolescents has increased dramatically also. WHO reports that in the USA, adolescents aged 12-17 years have seen a rise from 5% to 13% in boys and from 5% to 9% in girls between 1966-70 and 1988-91.

Just like adult obesity, childhood obesity is not limited to first-world countries, but is becoming increasingly common in low-income and middle-income countries. One example is the the prevalence of obesity in Thai children aged five to 12 years, which has risen by 3.4% to reach 15.6% in just two years.

Health Effects of Childhood Obesity

The health effects of childhood obesity can be both psychological and physiological. While childhood obesity can significantly increase the risk of a child developing depression, it can also result in early onset of obesity-related conditions seen in many obese adults. The many conditions that are associated with obesity include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, sleep apnoea and cancer, among others.

Childhood obesity significantly also increases the likelihood of becoming an obese adult, with around 70% of obese children growing up to become obese adults. As such, childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk of premature death as well as disability in adulthood.

Prevention of Childhood Obesity

The WHO recommends a healthy diet and exercise for children, since childhood obesity and obesity-related conditions are largely preventable. Prevention and intervention strategies have been put in place in many countries in order to educate society about the benefits of healthy eating, and exercise, with a number of strategies targeting the level of preschool and school children in an effort to stem the rising prevalence of childhood obesity. In addition, many say that prevention of childhood obesity is the best way to stem the adult obesity epidemic that we are seeing today.

restaurant nutrition iphone app

Anyone who owns an iPhone knows just how useful they are. They're great for increasing productivity, social networking and general entertainment purposes. There are a myriad of applications available and many are free, which is ideal in this sort of economy! So skip the gym, stop buying diet recipe books and cancel that fitness dvd subscription. Here are five free iPhone applications that are essential for anyone looking to get in shape for the approaching warmer seasons.

Restaurant Nutrition for Staying Calorie Conscious While Eating Out
Most experienced dieters knows that going cold turkey isn't exactly realistic. But as one begins the dieting process, it's good to become a conscious eater. The Restaurant Nutrition application is a directory of major fast food chains that enables the user to look up the nutritional value of each of their menu items.

This application also allows for more than one profile, which is ideal for couples or groups of friends dieting together. For those who aren't ready to cut fast food out completely, this application will at least encourage the healthiest option.

Healthy Recipes for Healthy Eating at Home
When cutting back on fast food and eating out, most people begin looking for healthy options for home cooked meals. While there are several great free recipe applications for the iPhone, this application in particular offers tasty health conscious options. The application has thousands of recipes and even allows the user to save their favorites.

Exercise Journal for Building the Perfect Exercise Regimen
Once a diet has been fully modified, the next step is to start incorporating exercise into a weekly routine. The Exercise Journal has over 350 different exercises, separated into Core, Lower Body, Arms, Chest, Shoulders, and Back.

There's even a category for yoga. Each exercise description includes detailed instructions and pictures. It's a very basic application that can aid in the creation of a customized routine that addresses any perceived "problem areas."

RunKeeper to Help Maintain a Structured Running Routine
Running is popular not only because it helps one lose weight, but also because it increases cardiovascular health and can help relieve stress. The RunKeeper application allows the user to track distance, time, pace/speed, and calories burned. It also plots the path traveled on a map. One of the best features is that the application allows the user to listen to music from their iPod while it tracks the run. This application eliminates the need for stand-alone devices that do essentially the same thing and saves the user tons of money in the process.

Lose it! for a Comprehensive Weight Loss Plan
This last application combines all of the above to act as a sort of comprehensive record of all diet related activities. Here the user can enter their current weight and target weight. Then, each day, every meal is entererd along with all exercise. The application will calculate the calories of the food based on a recipe you enter or its own extensive database of name brand foods and restaurant chain menus. It also calculates the amount of calories burned based during exercise. One of the best things about the application is that it counts any physical activity as exercise, and is able to calculate calories for things such as washing the dishes or raking leaves. These little victories serve as great motivation!

Sure, none of these applications are able to physically remove their users from the couch or verbally scold them for having that second serving. What these applications will do, however, if used diligently, is motivate the user to stay the course and make the entire weight loss process easier than it's ever been.

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Rates of obesity continue to skyrocket in the United States. But health experts say regular exercise can turn these numbers around dramatically and help Americans achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

obesity exercises

From 2007 to 2009, the number of U.S. states in which 30% or more of the residents qualified as obese tripled, according to the CDC. Just seven years earlier – in 2000 – not a single state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more.

The problem of obesity is serious enough to merit the attention of the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama has kicked off a campaign called "Let's Move" that aims to turn around the trend of childhood obesity by encouraging kids to get more activity and to eat better.

The Department of Health and Human Services also has made increased activity among all groups a focus of its anti-obesity efforts as part of the "Communities Putting Prevention to Work" program.

But does exercise really help reduce obesity?

How Exercise Fights Obesity

A person who exercises has a much better chance of maintaining a healthy weight.

Exercise helps burn calories, and the key to losing weight is to burn more calories than the body takes in through eating. This concept, known as a "calorie deficit," is the cornerstone of weight management.

Of course, exercise will not yield the hoped-for weight loss unless the exerciser also eats the right foods, stops eating unhealthy foods and cuts back on portion sizes.

How Much Exercise is Necessary?

How much exercise is needed for effective weight loss? The CDC recommends exercisers gradually try to achieve the following exercise target:
  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week.
However, the CDC also cautions that some people may need more exercise than this to maintain a healthy weight.

The CDC also offers a list of activities as examples of "moderate-intensity" aerobic activity, including brisk walking, casual biking and yard work. Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity include running, swimming laps and most competitive sports.

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health offers the following definitions:
  • Moderately active: a lifestyle that includes activity equal to walking 1.5 to three miles per day at a pace of three to four miles per hour.
  • Active: a lifestyle that includes activity equal to walking walking more than three miles per day at a pace of three to four miles per hour.

Recent research also indicates that the time of day that a person exercises can help speed the weight loss process.

Obesity is a continuing and growing problem in the United States. But regular exercise and a healthy diet can help obese people lose weight and keep it off.

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childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a problem. It is an epidemic with severe consequences and life altering effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity increased from 5 to 10.4 percent among children ages two to five years between 1980 and 2008. Children ages six to 11 increased even more at a rate of 6.6-19.6 percent and adolescents from 5-18.1 percent during the same period. With more and more schools banning or at least discouraging activities such as tag, football, tetherball, and other activities that can be viewed as being aggressive or dominating, what can parents do to fight the growing obesity problem? Below are some activities and suggestions parents could and should use to get children back on track to living healthy and productive lives.

Promote Healthy Dietary Habits
What does this mean exactly? Encouraging fat free foods, diet drinks, and smaller portions will not help curb childhood obesity. Actually, relying on just these changes in diet can be even more detrimental to the health of children. Providing sugar-free snacks and diet drinks in an effort to avoid sugar or calorie intake can be a sheep in wolf's clothing. Sugar-free foods and diet drinks are high in other unhealthy chemicals such as aspartame, sodium, and phosphorous. Artificial sweeteners can increase appetite and the desire for real sugar, according to new research published in the International Journal of Obesity. This should not be interpreted to encourage sugar or higher fat intake, but rather to use common sense and practice moderation.

Another important aspect when dealing with diet choices is knowing when to eat. An old adage says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; however, it is still the most neglected. Breakfast is not only meant to be the first meal of the day but should be consumed soon after waking to break the fast from the night before (hence the name "breakfast"). This is very important for the metabolism and how the body stores fat, burns protein, and processes nutrition for the rest of the day.

As daily life gets busier and busier, more families are eating on the go. This means convenience foods, meals out of a box, and frozen dinners are becoming evermore popular. However, these foods are usually made of processed foods and are very high in sodiums and preservatives. Since convenience can be a necessity, take the time one day a week to prepare fresh meals at home with healthy ingredients, then portion and send along with children to school for lunch or snacks.

Encourage Physical Activity to Increase Energy and Metabolism

The popular Wii has its benefits for utilizing more than just a child's thumbs; however, nothing will replace the health benefits of outdoor play. Childhood games such as tag, hide and go seek, foot races, and hopscotch should not only be encouraged but revered. Benefits other than just exercise are recognized with these games. Not only are hand, eye, and foot coordination developed and increased, but social interaction is also practiced and developed from these fun activities.

During the summer it is very easy to encourage outdoor play activities, but what about during the dead of winter? Keep the snow blower in the garage and have children help with shoveling the walk. Put on a coat and take a walk around the block to try and find animal tracks in the snow. If cold weather and outdoor activity just doesn't sound good in the winter, making a family trip to the local community gym can be a healthy bonding experience. Intramural sports are also very beneficial to the physical and social health of a child. Basketball, volleyball, wrestling, dance, and indoor soccer can all be practiced during the colder months for exercise and entertainment.

Be Honest With Children Regarding Their Overall Health

What is more important to the well being of a child, their feelings or their health? Society at times can be so afraid to hurt one's feelings, it will find a way to blame and penalize another entity that does not posess emotion to save the feelings of another. A child that is obese, rather fat, is unhealthy and at risk for serious consequences later in life. A child whose parents continue to ignore their weight problem can live a shorter life, risk being bullied in school, or not have the ability to participate in activities to the level a healthier child can. This can result in decreased confidence and self esteem levels that could affect other areas of their lives such as their academic performance. Rather than protecting a child's feelings due to their obesity, parents should confront the child directly. To help a child conquer his or her obesity and give that child a better chance at a healthier life can provide a much more stable confidence level and higher self esteem than ignoring the obvious problem of obesity.

Most importantly, adults need to lead by example for children to truly become healthier. Simple practices such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator, parking in the back row and walking to the building entrance, or going on family walks, hikes, or bike rides can teach children the benefits of exercise from an early age and discourage laziness with the added benefit of providing quality family time. The human body is a physical organism and needs physical exercise or play to be as efficient as possible in fighting childhood obesity. Get fit and be well. A child's health depends on it.

weight loss tricks

Many dieters believe simply eating a proper low calorie diet combined with exercise leads to weight loss. While this weight loss approach follows conventional wisdom, dieters find success is often not that easy. Slipping up on a diet is a common pitfall. The five easy tricks below will prevent diet failure.

Use Five Simple Weight Loss Tricks That Work

  1. Don’t get hungry. Many dieters think less food is more, and eat too little in an effort to cut calories. This leads to hunger, which leads to overeating. It’s much better to eat small, balanced meals often and avoid hunger. Also, eating more often keeps a dieter’s metabolism fast and helps burn more calories.
  2. Eat protein at every meal. Protein digests more slowly than carbohydrates and fats. Approximately 25%-30% of the calories in each gram of protein are burned in digestion. In comparison, carbohydrates burn only 6%-8% of their calories in digestion. Protein has also been shown in studies to keep people full longer than fats or carbohydrates.
  3. Don’t get bored. One of the main reasons dieters go off a plan is boredom. Snacking is often done when a dieter has nothing to do. Instead of reaching for food, take a walk, read a book, or call a friend. Even better, take time to explore a new hobby or sport. Find something that occupies both the mind and the body. It’s hard to snack when knitting or taking a spin class.
  4. Avoid stress. Emotional stress often leads to mindless eating. Although stress is hard to avoid in the present economic climate, there are easy ways to lessen stress. It’s free to meditate, take a bubble bath, or do yoga. A great way to relieve stress and get in some movement is Tai Chi. Many neighborhood parks host free daily Tai Chi classes.
  5. Move more. Even small increments of physical activity throughout the day add up to extra calories burned. Don’t drive or take the elevator when it’s possible to bike or walk instead. Be sure to add resistance training to any weight loss program. Resistance training builds lean muscle. Muscle raises your metabolism. This means looking leaner while burning more calories.

Manage Your Mind and Body for Weight Loss Success

Using these weight loss tricks allows a dieter to manage both mind and body for optimal weight loss success. Ignoring either physical or emotional needs can set anyone up for diet failure. When both body and mind are cared for, dieting comes easy.

Weight loss success is simple to achieve with these five easy tricks. These tricks can be incorporated into most lifestyles without effort. The key to succeeding on any diet is staying on plan with simple changes that take care the whole person.

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time management dieting

If maintaining a food journal, time needs to be available for that – although recording what one just ate takes just seconds, an individual must consciously give time and priority to that step. Time for exercise must be scheduled. Include “hidden” time snatchers like driving to and from the gym, time in the locker room, showering and so on.

Examine your diet and exercise plans and record the activities that you’ll need to fit into your current schedules.

Is it Easy to Schedule Workouts?

If you’re hoping that time will magically appear in your schedule, consider that you’re setting yourself up to lose (and that doesn’t refer to excess weight). Write out a schedule from morning to night, noting how you spend time. You may not realize everything you do during the day, so look at your day in 30-minute increments throughout an average day. You can say general things like “work” or “errands” or “chores.” Watch for those hidden time snatchers like driving, checking email throughout the day and the like.

Are there obvious things that you can give up in favor of dieting, such as going for a walk instead of watching the evening news? If nothing seems obvious, try the technique suggested by Judith Beck, PhD in her book The Beck Diet Solution (Oxmoor House, 2008) and create a priority chart to reduce your activity.

Prioritizing Diet and Exercise with Judith Beck

Divide the activities you identified on your schedule into three charts, “essential activities,” “highly desirable activities,” and “desirable” activities. Include diet and exercise as “essential activities.” If too many things end up in that first category, consider if you are living by unrealistic rules, such as “I must go to all of my children’s sports events in order to be a supportive father,” “To be a good mother, I must be available at all times to chauffeur my children,” “I must do paperwork at home so I’m seen as an efficient worker.”

Realize that things like a clean and organized house are “highly desirable” or “desirable” activities that may need to be bumped aside in order to make time for dieting. Beck suggests asking questions such as, “Do I truly have control over my schedule? Am I overburdened with responsibilities? Do I feel as if my life is just too complicated?” Ask if losing weight is more essential to your life than other activities.

Before jumping into a diet or exercise plan, consider how time management can make it more likely that you’ll engage in the activities necessary to lose excess weight. Determine which activities are essential in one’s day-to-day life in order to find the time you need.

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