Inadequate Amounts Of Sleep
It is no secret that children on average need more sleep than adults due to the fact they are growing and most of this growth occurs at night. What may surprise you is that if your child is not getting enough sleep, there is a possibility you could be raising the chances that your child is going to have weight issues as they grow older exponentially.
The recommended amount of sleep for children varies by age but on average, medical professionals recommend:
Under Age 5: 11 hours per day
5-10 year old: 10 or more hours per day
Over age of 10: At least 9 hours per day
There has been quite a bit of research done to validate the idea that less sleep equals more weight, in fact, in over seventeen studies done with children in Europe, the United States and Asia, the results have stayed the same; children who aren't getting enough sleep have a 92% higher risk of becoming overweight and even obese compared to children with longer sleep duration.
If you find it hard to get your child to go to sleep at a decent time each night there are a few strategies you can implement that may help.
One of the biggest mistakes parents tend to make especially late at night is to give their kids a desert that is high in sugar right before they go to bed. Naturally the sugar rush that comes with consuming this treat is going to hurt your child's chances of getting a good nights rest which will overtime add up to a lot of lost sleep.
One way to prevent this is to give them a desert during lunch time rather than after dinner, this way they have hours to burn of the excess energy before it is time to turn in for the night.
If you insist on giving your child a treat after eating dinner, than you need to either serve them something with a lower sugar content (If you need ideas check out this article) or make sure dinner is early enough that they have at least an hour or two to burn off the sugar they consume prior to going to bed.
Another great way to help your kids get enough sleep is to stick to a routine. If you do not already have a designated time that your child goes to sleep every night it is time to put them on a schedule.
The consistency is going to help their bodies get on a natural rhythm which will allow them to fall asleep faster and get more REM sleep (which is where the true health benefits of sleep stem from).
Routines are also important to teach your kids self-discipline which is an important skill that will prove useful to them all the way into adulthood.
The bottom line is a good nights rest is important for their body and mind and now that you know the true dangers of failing to get a good nights rest it is imperative you take action immediately if your child is at risk.
Excess Consumption Of Soft Drinks
Obesity and tooth decay go hand in hand which makes sense since the foods we eat that are most likely to have the most damage to our teeth are typically high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
One of the worst culprits when it comes to both problems is sugary drinks such as sodas, juices and even some sports drinks. These beverages typically have more sugar in them in one serving than is recommend for an adult to consume on a daily basis, let alone children.
One of the most devious effects of sugary drinks is the fact they do nothing to solve your hunger yet some of them have as much calories in them as if you were to eat a small snack.
The issue here is that these drinks have no way of stimulating Ghrelin which is a hormone in your stomach that makes you aware that you are hungry. This hormone only works with food, so you can continue to drink hundreds upon hundreds of calories in the form of soda and juice but never feel full.
This is as serious issue because despite how you feel, the calories you are consuming are real and they lead to weight problems if left unchecked.
All these hidden calories add up fairly quickly when you do the math:
If your child is drinking 1 to 2 glasses of either soda or juice a day on average they are consuming an extra 340 calories per day. If you allow them to continue this habit day in and day out, over a year you will have given them an extra 142,000 calories which translates into an extra 40 pounds of weight.
Another issue that stems from soft drinks is the caffeine which is a diuretic. Children who are drinking caffeinated beverages are more likely to become dehydrated especially if they do not regularly drink water. This not only is extremely unhealthy and can lead to physical and mental health problems, but also increases the risk of your child becoming obese.
The problem of tooth decay and childhood obesity goes hand in hand with the consumption of drinks that are high in sugar, in fact if you were to look at the rate of obesity in the United States and chart it with the rate of consumption of drinks that are high in sugar, caffeine and high fructose corn syrup the lines would likely be parallel.
The problem has gotten so bad that medical professionals such as Dr. Bes-Rostrollo have suggested that a higher tax be put on these drinks in order to curb the consumption of these products however nothing has been done as of yet.
In the mean time, if your children are accustomed to drinking soda and juices we highly suggest you start transitioning them over to drinking mostly water.
By doing this not only are you protecting their health, but you are likely going to see a positive shift in behavior as well because high amounts of sugar consumption are typically linked to hyper active behavior, behavioral issues and lower grades.
Exposure To Chemicals From Plastic
The idea that childhood obesity could be linked to chemicals in plastic is a new idea but evidence is continuing to mount in favor of this theory.
The two chemicals that appear to be causing the most damage are Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bishpenol F (BPF) which are now used to replace BPA which has been proven to have a negative effect on the heals of both adults and children due to the fact it interferes with the body's hormones.
A study conducted by a doctor by the name of Melanie Jacobson concerning the two replacement chemicals suggested that there was a higher prevalence of obesity in children who were exposed to these chemicals. This is a very significant find because exposure to these chemicals in the United States is wide spread.
Now there is still a lot of research to be done so this is not a definite fact. The biggest question that needs to be answered is whether kids are obese because they are exposed to these chemicals or if obese children are naturally eating and drinking foods that contain these chemicals.
BPS and BPF are found in plastics and aluminum-cans that hold food and drinks and thermal paper from cash register receipts. Receipts aside, children who are overweight are likely consuming larege amounts of soda and canned foods so their consumption of these chemicals is naturally high.
Irrespective of the potential dangers of Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bishpenol F (BPF) it is important that you refrain from allowing your children to consume an excess amount of soft drinks and pre-packaged foods. The more you are able to prepare home-cooked meals the better off your children will be.
Research has shown that the chances of a child having issues with their weight can be effected by their genetics. There is research that supports body weight is strongly influenced by genetics leading to the belief that children who are at born to obese parents have a higher risk of becoming obese themselves.
There was a study performed in 2012 which was continued this year that covered 13,000 cases and 15,600 controls, all from individuals of European, African, North and South American and East Asian ancestry. Both studies that were done showed a correlation between genetic factors and obesity.
There is another possibility, and that is the fact that parents who have succumb to obesity have horrible eating habits and these habits are naturally passed on to their children who have no choice but to follow their lead.
The lesson here is that your decisions don't just effect you but can have a detrimental effect on those you care about so it is more important than ever to take care of your health.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Maternal obesity and weight gain during pregnancy has been shown to be strongly associated with obesity in children later on in life.
One study conducted by the
Medical professionals suggest that the maximum amount of weight a woman should gain should be no more than 40 pounds throughout her entire pregnancy. Children who were born to women who surpassed this limit had an 15% higher risk of becoming overweight and even obese.
With the constant stress and cravings that come with carrying a baby to term and the availability of foods that are full of empty calories and unhealthy fats women are finding it harder to maintain a healthy weight while pregnant.
Irrespective, for the sake of both the mothers health and the child's future, it is imperative that eating healthy becomes top priority while pregnant.
Here are some ways that women can ensure they are eating healthy while pregnant:
1. Eat a large amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods and fat-free/low-fat dairy products
2. Stick to foods that are low in added sugar, saturated-fats and sodium
3. Stay away from refined grains and starchy foods such as white bread, cookies, chips and other snack foods
4. If snacking stick to healthy choices such as hummus, low-fat yogurt and fruits
5. Eat a healthy amount of seafood (NOT CANNED), you can have about 8-12 ounces per week
6. Stay away from drinks with added sugars and caffeine
7. If experiencing morning sickness, eat whole-grain bread and whole wheat crackers
8. Keep excess calories appropriate to where you are at in your pregnancy:
- First Trimester (No need for additional calories)
- Second Trimester (Typically only need an additional 340 calories per day)
- Third Trimester (Typically only need 450 additional calories per day)
The Next Step:
Now that you know how to prevent your child from being at risk of suffering from obesity, why not learn some ways that will get them on the right track in terms of their diet?
Children pick up a lot of habits from observing you when living at home so it is important you are setting them up for success not just academically but health wise as well!
Click the button below to learn the top ways to instill healthy eating habits in your children