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September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 6th, 2020

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

I still remember the day my mother came home from the pediatrician’s office. The pediatrician had told my mother that at the rate my sister was going, she would be obese by the time she was a teenager. I was about 12 years old at the time and my sister was 6 years old. My mother came home and threw away everything that was sweet in the house.  Our diet was forever changed. I was annoyed and told her that “we (meaning my brother and I) did not have the problem, why should we suffer”.  She said, “If one person is going to be on a diet, we are all going to be on a diet”.  Looking back, I can now appreciate what she did.

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. About 1 in 5 children in the United States has obesity. It is a major public health problem.  Children who are obese are at a higher risk of having chronic health diseases such asthma, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes.  They are more often bullied and teased. They are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem. They are more likely to be obese when they are adults.

Prevention of obesity starts at the home. What is good for adults to maintain a healthy weight is good for children.  You might not have control of how children eat when they are outside the home, but you do have control when they are in the home. Children cannot drive so whatever is in the home is what they have.

  1. Provide nutritious, lower calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables in the house – keep this at eye level where children can reach. Fruits and vegetables should be their snacks.
  2. Make sure drinking water is always available. Limit the amount of juice.  Do not bring sugary drinks like soda in the home.
  3. Encourage your children to be physically active. Limit the time in front of video games or television. Encourage sports. Use this opportunity to exercise with the children. Dance with your children. Walk with your children.
  4. Make sure your children have healthy sleep habits. There should not be a television in the children’s bed room. Children should have a regular bedtime.
  5. Be the role model. If you are eating healthy, your children will be eating healthy.

For more information on ways to help children maintain a healthy weight, please click here.

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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

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