Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Child Obesity in Middle Childhood

Parents does this sound familiar?  “Mom can I have a cookie…only if your good,”  “No time for dinner lets go to McDonalds,”  “Be good at the store and you can get a candy bar or soda,” or “Go outside and play…No I am watching TV and playing video games.”  Conversations like these are contributing to a social problem that has more than tripled in the last 30 years…Child Obesity, which is defined as a child that is well above normal weight for their height.  Child obesity has both immediate and long term effects on a child’s mental and physical health.  These children become a target for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, circulatory problems, diabetes, sleep apnea, and bone / joint problems, which will follow the child through adolescence and adulthood.  Along with a weakened immune system, a child can suffer from social and psychological dilemmas.  Children develop self-identity by noticing how others perceive them, unfortunately, adults and children tend to stereotype obese children as lazy, stupid, and ugly.  Peers tend to look down on them, which could lead to verbal or maybe even physical abuse.  A child’s self-esteem is greatly influenced by how others respond to them.   As the child enters middle childhood, they withdrawal themselves from a social life and are more at risk for behavioral problems than other kids around them.  If obesity follows the child to adolescence the child is more likely to suffer from severe depression.        
                Prevention is crucial for our kids.   Schools may provide time to teach kids about the importance of health and physical activity, but kids now associate pizza with a vegetable.  However, schools are doing the best they can with the resources they have.  More importantly, it’s the parents buying and cooking the food at home.  Health foods do tend to be more costly, but parents can limit convenience foods and meals as much as possible and don’t reward or bribe children with food.  Kids need to be encouraged as much as possible to get out and be active, not only to burn calories but to build strong, healthy bones and muscles.  Remember these are our children of the future.   

Mandy Lickteig                                    


  1. You hit the nail on the head. I was a mother like that. It was so much easier to stop at McDonald's or Sonic after soccer or basketball games. The girls were tired and I was tired. I took the easy way out and stopped for something quick. Identity and stereotyping are so important as the kids get older. My first experience with that is when my youngest daughter was in high school. Her volleyball coach told her she needed to lose weight to be an effective player. I told her I am to blame for that. I should have made bette choices for them when they were younger. Hind site is always best. I can see so many places that I could have done better as a parent. I guess there are no instruction books. I have learned a lot about parenting.
    Susan Davis

  2. I really enjoyed this posted because it got me thinking about how much of an issue this is. Although I am not a parent I spend a lot of time with my niece and nephew. Over the years I have with out a doubt spoiled them! Every time I walk in their house they're asking if I have any surprises for them!As I read your post I got to thinking about the things I usually bring them...candy, pop, fast food, donuts, etc... None of this is healthy!!! I will really watch my bad habits now! Also they love to relax around the house so a lot of times we rent movies or play video games. I am definitely going to have to turn into a more creative aunt for the health of my niece and nephew! :)