September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month!

Dr. Lindhorst recently went on a cruise and was sitting on the deck listening to the happy giggles of kids all around.  Huge waves of water from the nearby water slide were sloshing around as kids came down the plastic tubes.  Those waves however, were way too large for a normal size child to make. Kiddos of all ages, from adorably squishy toddlers in parents' arms to teenagers squeezing into way too tiny bathing suits with folds of fat peaking out from under sun shirts, were mostly... well... overweight!  It's an alarming trend to see all around us especially in the age of inexpensive fast food restaurants, availability of sodas and juices, and many unhealthy choices right at the eye level in grocery stores.  These foods can have terrible dental consequences, but we worry about them from a more global perspective as well.
Did you know that 1 in 3 children in the United States is either overweight or obese? Obesity increases a child's risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, asthma, and sleep apnea.
Luckily, we can help prevent childhood obesity. The Smiles for Kids team encourages your family to make these changes together to help minimize your child's risk:
(1) Eat healthy meals together. Try to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into every meal of the day. Avoid eating refined sugars. If you're eating grains, choose whole-grain foods. Have your kids help prepare meals so they can learn about healthy choices and portion sizes.
(2) Play together. Encourage your kids to get active. They can play sports, go on a walk with the family, or even ride their bike around the neighborhood. Try to encourage 30-60 minutes of activity time every day.
(3) Limit their screen time. Though ipads and computers are very tempting, try to limit the amount of time your child plays video games or watches television.
(4) Talk to your pediatrician. Know your child's BMI (body mass index) and track it as they grow. It is a calculation based off of your child's weight and height.
These small changes can make a world of difference. We hope that you will spread the word about National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month!
Take care,
Dr. Jadav & the Smiles for Kids Team