Keeping an eye on child obesity - Albuquerque Journal

Keeping an eye on child obesity

In the last column we discussed what is BMI and how is it calculated. We also discussed that the ranges are constant in adults, but they change in childhood and hence we need to refer to graphs (CDC graphs are the most often used).

We also talked about that in children, overweight is referred to as a BMI more than 85th percentile for that age, and obesity more than 95th percentile for that age.

The key fact is that obesity rates are rising all over the world and obesity affects life span and importantly quality of life. The seeds for obesity are sown early in life. This means that an obese toddler is more likely to be an obese child, an obese adolescent and an obese adult.

Unfortunately, the recent pandemic has not helped. The rate of rise of weight just before the Covid pandemic and 6 months into the pandemic have shown a remarkable and worrying trend in the increase in weight over and above the expected weight gain.

This means that we will suddenly see a jump in overweight and obesity rates. It has been estimated that about 50% of children will be obese by the age of 35 years.

In 1988, 23% of the American population was obese; this has increased to 35% now with projections to increase further. Obesity has more than doubled in children and more than four times in adolescents. Overweight rates are double the obesity rates. An average woman today weights about the same as an average man in 1960.

The concern is that some experts feel that for the first time in the history of mankind, our children may live shorter lives on average than their parents due to the scourge of obesity.

Hence your pediatrician tried to warn you about a possible unhealthy diet and lack of exercise resulting in a rapid increase in the BMI of your child.

Some studies show that a typical member of the population walks about one-third of a mile daily, while 20% manage some moderate level of exercise. The concept of walking 10,000 steps daily, though not entrenched in science, is approximately five miles daily which translates to 150 minutes of mild to moderate aerobic exercise a week.

Children are expected to exercise 60 minutes a day. These are again recommendations from CDC.

Some experts have suggested that – sitting is the new smoking. So, get up and move!

Ultimately, the aim is to maintain BMI in the normal range and preferably in the same percentile band. Check BMI twice a year. Ask your pediatrician or check yourself on various BMI calculators available, plot it on a graph, avoid junk food and exercise. One big source of calories is sugar sweetened beverages and processed or ultra-processed foods. More about ‘JUNCS’ in the next edition.

Until then, watch what you and your children eat and drink – after all you are their role model. And start exercising.

I forgot to mention, whole milk is OK to use until two years of age, after which move to low fat milk (without added sugar) unless specifically told so not to by your child’s health care provider.

Pankaj Vohra is a Pediatric Gastroenterologist at UNM. Please send your questions to pvohra@salud.unm.edu.

 

Home » From the newspaper » Keeping an eye on child obesity

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Filmmakers follow local ensemble Baracutanga as they travel to ...
Arts
The filmmakers will join the band ... The filmmakers will join the band in its journey back home to Bolivia and capture the trip in a feature-length documentary to share with ...
2
'La Cartonería Mexicana' celebrates more than 100 colorful pâpier ...
Arts
Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk ... Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk Art is showing 'La Cartonería Mexicana' through Nov. 3, 2024
3
Folk duo to deliver their blend of tales and ...
Arts
The folk duo Johanna Hongell-Darsee and ... The folk duo Johanna Hongell-Darsee and Scott Darsee will perform their blend of early traditional Scandinavian/Celtic ballads and tales at Santa Fe's First Presbyterian ...
4
Opera Southwest brings Rossini's comedic 'Le comte Ory' to ...
Arts
Opera Southwest will perform the composer's ... Opera Southwest will perform the composer's last comedy, 'Le comte Ory,' for three shows in February at the National Hispanic Cultural Center's Albuquerque Journal ...
5
Hip-hop artist Khalisol is just getting started after recent ...
Arts
New Mexico-based rapper continues to build ... New Mexico-based rapper continues to build brand, hopes to expand Southwest's footprint in music
6
Resist pruning roses now or they might suffer later
Arts
The kindest thing you can do ... The kindest thing you can do for roses right now will be to offer them water.
7
New interpretive ranger to explain the history, culture of ...
Arts
Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting ... Interpretive rangers are responsible for interpreting the history and culture of the sites through public programming and direct engagement.
8
Home improvement show, first responder cook-off highlight Rio Rancho ...
Arts
The Rio Rancho Events Center is ... The Rio Rancho Events Center is hosting The Rio Rancho Home Improvement Marketplace Show from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and from 10 ...
9
British artist Damien Hirst explores the way of bushido ...
Arts
Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The ... Richard Levy Gallery is showing 'The Virtues' by Damien Hirst, an exhibition of eight new prints, Feb. 4 through March 18.