Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
October 8, 2015
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, FAAFP (845) 364-2512
TAKE STEPS TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT
NEW CITY, NY - - Thirty years ago, barely one child in ten was heavier than normal. Today, one child in three is either overweight or obese. Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage parents and educators to take steps to create environments that support healthy eating and physical activity at home and in school, which also help students feel ready to learn.
Childhood obesity (when a child is well above the norm for healthy weight for their gender, age and height) is a global issue and one of America's most serious health threats among youth. The causes are complex, generally involving food and physical activity behaviors.
To help develop the brain for learning and to maintain healthy body weight, experts advise that children and teens take part in at least 60 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity every day. Schools can help children and teens achieve those needed 60 minutes while also increasing student school performance. Nutrition experts advise eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and unsweetened beverages such as water, seltzer, and fat-free or 1% milk (for those over age 2). Remember to keep the portion sizes reasonable. The amount of food items served should be about the size of the child's palm. Recent data shows that babies are more likely to develop at a healthy weight when their mothers breastfeed them for at least 6 months.
Carrying extra body weight can have harmful effects on the body at any age. Chronic diseases, once thought to only affect older adults, are now seen routinely among overweight and obese children and teens, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (involving the heart or blood vessels). In one study, 70% of obese children had at least one cardiovascular risk factor, and nearly 40% had two or more. Teens who are obese are more likely to become obese adults.
Other dangerous conditions can impact the quality of life for young people carrying excess weight such as:
- Pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes
- Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea and asthma
- Joint problems and pain in the bones, muscles and joints
- Heartburn, fatty liver disease and gallstones
- Impaired social, physical, and emotional functioning including depression, difficulties in school, low self-esteem and low self-reported quality of life