Childhood Obesity

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 02/06 2014 05:29PM

Updated 02/06 2014 11:01PM

National studies are showing a huge growth in childhood obesity in the last 30 years. And that means a greater risk of issues ranging from diabetes to cardiovascular disease.

"Childhood obesity is when the BMI which is a body mass index is off the chart so essentially heavier than they should be for their height. If they're above 85%, consider that overweight or 95%, obese." And Freeman Pediatrician Christina Dalton says that can lead to cardivascular issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol. "They've shown studies that even as early as age 12, those can start affecting their arteries and veins and can lead to long term complications like stokes and heart attack at early ages."

Even pre-diabetes. Dalton says the key is diet and exercise. "The goal is never to lose weight but to maintain their weight while they grow and to make healthy eating choices because those things are what follow you for the rest of your life."

Dalton says to start small, like eliminating sugary drinks and adding fruits and vegetables. "Most kids honestly in my office tell me they maybe eat one fruit or vegetable a day. And it should really be closer to 5 or 6. Cutting out processed food can make a huge difference in their weight."

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