Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
By Marc A. Hofley, MD
As most of us have heard, obesity is a major problem in the United States. It is now estimated that 25 percent of adults are obese (Body Mass Index more than 30) and that an even greater percentage are overweight (BMI more than 25).
In children, the statistics are not much better and as a parent the statistics might raise some concern: 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese and 33.6 percent are overweight. Obesity has quadrupled over the last 25 years. By year 2030, if these trends continue, about 60 percent of the population will be overweight or obese.
What is obesity? It is a medical definition based on a person’s weight and height. At or above these definitions, the chances of developing serious illnesses greatly increase. The risk of having a serious cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, at a young age is high. For every 5 kg increase in weight (approximately 11 pounds), the risk of heart disease is increased by 14 percent and stroke by 16 percent.
In children, especially, we worry about the development of insulin resistance. This is when a person’s insulin level is increased because one’s body cells do not respond properly to insulin. Insulin is a growth factor – it makes people hungry and gain weight. This can lead to Type 2 Diabetes and all of its complications including cardiovascular disease, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Young teenage girls can develop polycystic ovarian disease, which causes increased facial hair, acne, irregular periods, and can lead to infertility.
The good news is all these problems are reversible with healthy lifestyle changes including increasing physical activity and decreasing calorie consumption. It is all about energy balance, amount of calories consumed and the amount of calories burned. Overall it’s about making healthier choices that will benefit overall health.
Parents play an essential role in teaching their children how to make healthy choices. Are you wondering how to go about this?
These are just some of the tips you and your family can use to make healthier choices in the New Year.
Last updated by Parenting NH Administrator Jun 7, 2012.