According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children and adolescents with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since 1970. Today, approximately one in five children between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese, and that figure doesn't include children who are considered merely overweight and not obese.
According to Dr. Alka Sood, a family medicine physician with Penn State Health Medical Group - Park Avenue in State College, children with obesity can face many social and health problems while growing up.
"Children with obesity are more likely than their classmates to be teased or bullied and to suffer from low self-esteem, social isolation and depression," Sood said. "They are at higher risk for other chronic health problems, including asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes, and are more likely to be obese as adults -- resulting in increased risk of heart disease and other serious medical conditions."
Therefore reducing the risk of childhood obesity is an important issue for improving a child's health and happiness. Here Dr. Sood along with Kara Shifler Bowers, a registered dietitian and a project manager for the Penn State PRO Wellness Center, offer expert tips on how parents can support their children to set healthy habits early on.