MACON, Georgia (KBTV)-Atrium Health Navicent is observing Pediatric Obesity Awareness Month.
The goal is to get children more active with exercise and eating healthier. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 14.4 million children and young adults are obese in the United States. As for the state of Georgia 31.3 percent of the obesity rate ranges from ages 10-17. Obesity has been named one of the most health challenges and that the numbers have increased over the past 30 years.
Obesity is known to effect other parts of children’s bodies, this includes the heart, lungs and muscles, bones and hormones that helps with blood sugar and puberty. This also increases more health risk factors like diabetes and complications of COVID-19 according to The World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr. Jessica R. Hutchins, an Atrium Health Navicent Pediatric Endocrinologist says, “In the last year and a half since the pandemic began, we have seen a large increase in number of new onset type 2 diabetes in adolescents. In the hospital, our number of patients has basically doubled for children needing admission to start on insulin with new onset type 2 diabetes. The rates of obesity and abnormal weight gain, greater than 20 pounds in less than a year for many, have also been on the rise. Many children have been eating more processed foods and have been less active with trying to social distance and learn virtually.”
However, there are ways that parents can help with the children’s exercise and active life with these steps:
• Eating healthier: Fill your child’s plate with fruit and vegetables in place of sugary foods or snacks.
• Drinking water: Make sure water is available as a no-calorie alternative to sodas or juice.
• Exercising daily: Help your children get 60 minutes of exercise per day. Exercise not only burns calories, but leads to better academic achievement, higher quality sleep and reduced feelings of anxiety.
• Getting enough sleep: Get your child to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends, and remove electronic devices at bedtime. Proper sleep can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.
• Setting a good example: Be a role model of healthy eating, exercise and sleep for your children.