- 04-28-07, 10:45 PM #1
Generation Y: Obesity
Generation Y: Obesity By Sarah O'Brien
About 12 million kids in the u-s are overweight. Another 12 million are at risk. In the first story of our series on Generation Y, 13 News takes a look at what parents can do to keep childhood obesity from getting worse.
Shirley Poole, a clinical dietitian with SwedishAmerican Hospital says, "Over 60 percent of children are affected by either being overweight or obesity which would be in the same classification and we're seeing it continuing to go up and younger and younger children are definitely becoming more overweight."
Poole links the increase to several things, like parents not spending enough time doing exercise with their kids, and not monitoring TV or computer time. She says parents and caregivers need to take action because what they do or don't do can determine whether or not their child becomes obese. "Things you could look at is how do they keep up with other children in activity levels so if you take your children to the park are they able to run around with other children their age and keep up with them."
You should also keep track of your child's growth. Poole says, "How many clothing sizes has your child gone up in the past 6 months, and if you're looking at more than 2, and they're not related to height, you may want to look at that factor too."
But parents aren't the only ones who can make a difference in their child's health habits. Kids spend most of their day at school. That's why several school districts offer healthier food alternatives in the cafeteria. The Rockford School District offers more fruits and vegetables for kids and puts restrictions on junk food items. Food Services Director Chris Saletta says, "The snacks we choose to serve our kids after school when they get home or the food that we choose to provide for them at school, things like that I think they're all part of a puzzle and that we all have to work together, families and schools and make sure that our kids are healthy."
And getting enough exercise is also crucial. Eisenhower Middle School P.E. teacher Diane Johnson says, "Exercise plays a huge part in combating obesity in children as well as adults."
But some say schools and parents aren't doing enough to enforce it. "They live what they learn and if we are not teaching them at a young age that it's important to be physically active, I'm not certain that as they grow older that will all the sudden become important."
The Rockford School District lets kids to waive P.E. class for various reasons. That's been the case for the past 12 years but Johnson says that will end in the 08-09 school year.