Photography By Shaeree via CompfightMy chubby princess after a week of the ACTH treatment  

Our parents called it baby fat. In those days, chubby kids were cute and cuddly. Not any more. Today it’s called childhood or “pediatric” obesity and it’s the number one nutrition-related health problem for our kids. One in three children in this country is overweight or obese, a statistic that has more than doubled in the past two decades (super-obesity is up 98%). There is every reason to believe this trend will get worse unless we make serious changes in our lifestyles.
Chubby kids are more likely to be teased and ridiculed, judged as less smart or more lazy, and have fewer friends than their peers. They face discrimination throughout school, in sports, and at college entrance. Obese kids also are more likely to be obese adults, which escalates the risk for diabetes, heart disease, gallbladder disease, hypertension, arthritis, sleep problems, and even cancer. They also perform less well in school.
Why are our kids getting fatter? Granted, obesity begets obesity. Children have an 80% chance of becoming obese if both parents are obese, a 40% chance if one parent is obese, and only a 7% chance if both parents are lean. However, obesity rates are escalating far too fast for this epidemic to be caused by genetics. In short, genetics might increase a child’s susceptibility to obesity, but those ticking genes only explode into a serious weight problem with the help of habits.
The real problem is our kids are eating more fat, sugar, and processed calories and are moving less than any generation since the dawn of humankind. Our children also sit. They watch three or more hours of television a day, which equates to a minimum of 16,425 hours (almost two years) of TV viewing between the ages of 2- and 17-years-old. That’s not counting the time spent sitting in front of a computer, Nintendo, or video game, all of which rev metabolism no more than a nap.
The good news is that none of this is cut in stone. Children can avoid serious weight problems. It just takes a family commitment to eat well and move more. Although there are no magic bullets, common sense and research both conclude that we need to focus on realistic lifestyle changes, especially healthy eating and daily exercise. Instill good eating habits at an early age to cultivate a taste for nutritious foods. Throw out the chips, stock the kitchen with only easy-to-grab cut-up fresh fruit and vegetables and other unprocessed foods, help children get in touch with their bodies’ hunger and satiety signals, switch from soda pop to water, be restaurant savvy, never use food as a reward or punishment, and nurture an appreciation for health and taking care of the body. No small endeavor, but the next generation will be one of increased disease rates unless we make radical changes in what we eat and how much we move today.