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Pediatric overweight has been an issue for a while, but now everyone is talking about it. Our nation and state have seen a substantial rise in the number of overweight children over the past two decades. Per the Center for Disease Control, in 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. In California the number increases dramatically to one in three children. The extra weight comes with a long list of health problems rarely seen before in young children. Health problems associated with overweight in children include: type 2 diabetes, joint pain/malformation, elevated blood lipids, high blood pressure, reactive airway disease and low self esteem.
There is no single cause of childhood overweight. Some experts condemn excessive consumption of sweetened beverages (like juice and soda) and high fat snacks with low nutritional value (like Cheetos and chips). While others lament a decrease in the level of physical activity in children of all ages, most experts agree that it’s a combination of both issues. The result is that children are gaining too much weight too fast. As with any health issue, prevention is the key. So here are a few strategies that you can use with your family: