Observing your child’s growth pattern is the first step in helping your child. Did you know that most parents don’t recognize obesity in their children. So because you are here, and reading this means that you have broken through one of the biggest barriers in the obesity epidemic—you see your child’s weight gain. You, a parent, has noticed that your child is growing too fast.
Children living with morbid obesity is the fastest growing category of obesity, so you are right to be worried. The impact morbid obesity is having on our children is best explained like this—4% of children living in the US fit into the category doctors call extreme obesity, and that 4% of those US children with extreme obesity is a number greater than the total number of US children currently affected with cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV and juvenile diabetes combined. That is a lot of children! And your worry is justified because there are few resources available for parents of extremely obese children.
Okay, I hear you thinking, so it’s good that I am worried but there really isn’t much in the way to help for my child. So what do I do now? Hold steady—is what the World Health Organization is suggesting. Simply, try to help your child stay exactly where they are by doing all the things we know work to avoid the things that go along with obesity, like Type 2 diabetes, early puberty, sleep apnea, depression, and hypertension.
Here is what you can do today:
Keep compassion and love in your voice and gesture.
Keep your child moving and eating as healthy as possible.
Help them get a good night’s sleep, by moving TVs and computers, and phones from their bedrooms into shared family spaces.
Keep giving them opportunities to discover the things in life that they are good at and enjoy.
Help them make and keep friends. Remind them of the things you love about them.
These simple things can make a huge difference in how you and your child survives this epidemic until there are safe and effective treatments. Keeping your child happy and engaged at any weight is the key to helping them achieve their healthiest weight.