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We all know that being active and staying fit is a key component of being healthy today and for years to come. However, many Canadians are putting their health at risk by being overweight, including children.
One in five Canadian youth are considered overweight or obese according to a recent study, says Statistics Canada. The 2013 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) revealed that just over 20% of Canadians 12 to 17 years of age are obese. It’s no secret that obesity is increasingly becoming an issue not only in Canada, but across North America, and spearheading the issue starts with our youth.
The CCHS revealed that youth and adults have work to do when it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices. Here is what the survey revealed:
Source: CBC News
There is no question that childhood obesity puts our youth at serious risk for many health problems. As outlined in a recent report by Public Health Ontario, “The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and youth is a serious public health problem requiring immediate action. Childhood obesity is associated with a complex web of risk and protective factors that provide a variety of pathways by which to intervene.” Childhood obesity puts children at significant risk for many health problems.
It’s clear that childhood obesity issues can become lifetime issues during adulthood. According to a report by the Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition, up to one-third of adult weight issues and obesity have origins in childhood obesity. Without proper action, the continuance of obesity into adulthood could lead to higher rates of obesity-related diseases in teens and adults, something that will create a need for specialized health care in the future.
Understanding the causes of obesity in children is complex. Many social, behavioural, cultural, and environmental factors that all play a role.
Here are some of the most commonly identified risk factors that have been found to impact the health and well-being of our youth:
Learn about the importance of eating breakfast.
Some of these factors we can control, and others we can’t. Some evidence suggests that other factors that play a role in childhood obesity, although to a lesser degree, include depression, exposure to advertising of high-calorie foods, and low socioeconomic status.
Naturally, there is a need to focus on prevention and treatment to help our children get a good start to their lives and lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Part of a healthy lifestyle is protecting yourself from unexpected medical expenses. Get a private health insurance plan so you can focus on making positive lifestyle changes instead of medical bills.
Source: Public Health Ontario
We have work to do, and parents play a significant role in helping their children live a healthy lifestyle. Remember that as parents, you set the example for your children. Lead a healthy, active and balanced lifestyle to help minimize the chance of overweight and obesity issues.